HELEN BURTON: Beehive will improve our village’s ecosystem

Helen Burton SUS-150709-171138001
Helen Burton SUS-150709-171138001

Three projects I have been working on for a while moved forward over the last couple of weeks.

The Eastbourne Real Junk Food Café now has a confirmed venue – Elim Family Church in Hartfield Road. I can also announce we will be working in conjunction with Eastbourne Foodbank which will make it much easier to progress. The project will be having a meeting soon to get together all of the volunteers interested in working in the café so if you have catering experience or just fancy helping out on a Wednesday lunchtime then please email me at ethicallifestyle@btinternet.com Volunteers who have already come forward will be contacted soon.

I completed three grant applications last week for two other projects. Incredible Edible Pevensey and Westham has now signed a licence for large plot of land in Pevensey which will be the site of Pevensey Apiary. The project will enable a local beekeeper to manage up to 10 beehives and produce a source of our very own raw Pevensey honey. By keeping bees at this site the ecology of the area should improve for up to four miles around the apiary as the bees forage and increase pollination. Anderida Park, the Pevensey Levels and any gardens in the area should all see an increase in flower and fruit production and benefit from the increased pollination this project will bring. Small birds will benefit as they will have an increase in food available to them (they like to eat dead bees pushed from the hive and also eat living bees if they can catch them). The one hive I put in my garden earlier this year has made the garden come alive and I have never seen so many birds in my garden. My neighbour says she has had the best tomato crop ever too! We also intend the site to be an educational resource. We will run sustainable beekeeping sessions and hopefully use the site as a centre of learning on subjects such as sustainability, ecology and community gardening. As the site develops we may be able to host other events there too. Exciting times! As I have become more involved in my community and visited the groups and clubs in my parish I have realised how important volunteers are in our community, and with cuts to front-line services proposed over the next three years I believe that volunteers will become even more vital in providing support to those who need it. This led to the creation of a new project, Pevensey Volunteers, and this week we signed the constitution and applied for some funding. The project’s aim is to recognise the work of volunteers in the villages, support volunteers and ensure they feel valued and to encourage more people to volunteer and take an active role in village life.

When I started trying to live more ethically over a year ago I never imagined I would be so busy or have so much fun!