Grow Wild projects celebrated in Defra's Bees’ Needs Champions Awards 2016

The Bees’ Needs Champions Awards, arranged by Defra (Department of Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs) and hosted at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, have celebrated bee friendly initiatives from across England. At a fantastic celebration on Tuesday 8 November these projects came together at Kew - and what a varied bunch they were!

The projects varied in location from communual land, farms and parks to famous shopping streets. The Bees’ Needs Awards celebrate projects that help bees and highlight the importance of protecting our pollinators. At this time of year, bees are in particular need of help – as the weather becomes colder, finding shelter is especially important, in particular for solitary bees that don’t live in hives. Read more.

Minister for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity Lord Gardiner, explained the importance of these projects:

“Pollinators are essential for food production and the environment. The Bees’ Needs champions show us how to keep our pollinators happy and healthy all year round, and their efforts are an inspiration for us all. They show that whether you have access to acres of land or just a window box, everyone can play a part in helping these vital insects thrive.”

There were six categories in these awards: youth groups, schools, local authorities, farming, construction and community groups. The nominated projects had been judged by a number of organisations for successfully adopting Defra's National Pollinator Strategy.

A selection of Grow Wild youth and community projects, part of Kew's national outreach initiative supported by the Big Lottery Fund, received awards in special recognition for their great work supporting pollinators with their local communities.  These projects were:

Bosavern Community Bee Garden in Cornwall

Dedicated to protecting the Cornish black bee, this project on the very tip of England shares information about bees and honey production processes with local schools and community organisations.

Heeley Meadows in Sheffield

This project has transformed a large previously disused area in a housing estate in Heeley with wildflowers, which provide a vital source of food and shelter for pollinators like bees.

Gaia’s Garden in Birmingham

By filling a previously unloved area of municipal land with wild flowers grown with local people, this project has created a wildlife haven in the urban setting of Balsall Heath in Birmingham.

Saffron Heath Bee Garden in Leicester

This brilliant project involved young people in installing beehives and planting tree and flower species that are especially beneficial to bees.

Burscough Village Pollinator Station by the Tree Bee Society in Lancashire

By planting wild flowers and herbs that are favourites of bees, this project taught their local community about the relationship between bees and the food we eat.

My Wild Cathedral in Bristol

Volunteers at this project wanted to show that bland, disused spaces can be transformed and made into something beneficial to the environment. By sowing wild flowers in large street-side flower beds they provided a brilliant environment for pollinators within a city.

Bee Garden in London

Young people in Dalston were invited into this outdoor classroom to learn all about pollinators and different plant species. The creative community garden uses shipping containers to grow plants and also has two bee hives.

You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone by ArtWorks in Sheffield

This group created a fantastic living art work of bee hotels fixed to picket fences. They also helped educate local school groups about the role of pollinators and shared wild flower seeds throughout their community.

Bee Buzzy at Chesterfield College

Colourful collages with the slogan “Pollinators are life creators!” made by this group have been inspiring the local community and helping to spread the work about bees and biodiversity.

Representatives from some of these projects attended the awards event at Kew to receive their certificate from Lord Gardiner, who commended the projects for “Excellence in providing food and a home for pollinators”. Well done everyone!

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