Lisburn’s Old Warren estate has become home for some of Mother Nature’s hardest and most endangered workers – honey bees.
A £2,000 grant from the Housing Executive, has helped to establish the new Lisnagarvey Beekeeping Club, part of a local Men’s Shed initiative, with help from the Resurgam Trust.
Denis Paisley from the Resurgam Trust, the umbrella group for a number of positive community activity projects in the Old Warren area, explained; “The aim of our project is to look after the health of older people – to get them out of the house and remove isolation.
“Some of the boys were interested in honey bees – they are an amazing species - and so we arranged a foundation course in Preliminary Beekeeping to train them up.
“Some of those involved had no qualifications form school.
“There’s an intergenerational element too – some of the lads bring their grandchildren along and they help deter any potential vandalism at the site.”
When asked what’s in it for the Old Warren estate, Denis responded; “There are great benefits to the community – certainly from the honey – which helps the social enterprise and builds sustainability for local projects and we hope this idea spreads to other areas too.
“Our thanks go to the Housing Executive for their faith in the project and for providing us with the space to make it grow.”
Across the world, it has been reported that bee populations are under stress, with changes in agricultural practices, greater use of pesticides and climate change being blamed for what’s commonly known as Colony Collapse Disorder.
There are 101 bee species in Ireland and it is estimated that around half of these are in decline.
Falling bee populations could have a catastrophic effect on agriculture and bio-diversity, as they pollinate our plants.
Aengus Hannaway, Lisburn and Castlereagh Regional Manager at the Housing Executive, said; “This is a brilliant project which we were very happy to support.
“The new bee hives themselves are placed on our land, near the banks of the Lagan river, close to the towpath.
“It’s fantastic to see Housing Executive land being used so productively and in a way that is having an incredibly positive impact on our local natural infrastructure.
“It’s just as important, though, to see those living on our estates taking pride in their local area and renewing their interest in education and the environment.”