Community spirited North Tyneside resident Stephen Douglas has brought his idea to life and set up a community Beekeeping project at Meadow Well Connected in North Tyneside. Throughout lockdown, Stephen raised £5,214 through Spacehive, a crowdfunding platform for ideas that bring local spaces to life – the world’s first civic crowdfunding platform.

Participants meet on a weekly basis at Meadow Well Connected in North Tyneside and have assembled beehives and prepared them for honeybees. The project will run till the end of the summer. Project leader Stephen Douglas (31) started the project off by teaching the theory of beekeeping to help prepare for the practical side. As the honeybees arrive in July, participants will work together to manage the colonies throughout the season.

The community beekeepers are preparing the colonies for their first winter and must ensure that the honeybees are strong and with plenty of stores. The bees will forage in a huge radius, therefore providing a pollination service to local gardens & allotments. The project aims to promote disability inclusion, reduce social isolation and promote mental health and wellbeing.

Beekeeping Community Project Launches In North Tyneside
Adam Stokes smiling at a frame of bees

Stephen Douglas said: “We have all had a difficult time in the last year due to lockdown and the impact of Covid-19; I wanted to provide a meaningful way for people to get back outside and enjoy our world in a safe environment and learn some new skills whilst meeting people and building a healthy and supportive network in their community. Beekeeping has improved my mental health; I hope that this will apply to others.  Having something to look forward to every week and being able to express yourself to others is a great help for our well-being. You could spend hours watching the honeybee dancing around inside the hive and for every question answered there is a new curiosity waiting to be explored.” 

Participants have not been recruited for their desire to become beekeepers, but for their need to take part in a community group. Beekeeping requires problem-solving alongside being able to share moments of wonder and joy in working with the most fascinating insects; this makes beekeeping a perfect activity in bringing people together and allowing for opportunities to communicate and share experiences with others.

Spacehive brings together people, organisations, governments and foundations to collaboratively fund projects that communities want: everything from spruced up playgrounds and new street markets, to pocket green spaces and community centres. Spacehive has the highest success rate of any other crowdfunding platform and works in partnership with funders from across the UK, from the Mayors of London and Sunderland to BT and the Arts Council; organisations that want to support community projects that make local places better.

Stephen Douglas added: “It is a privilege to have been able to bring my two passions in life together in delivering this project. I have taken great joy in seeing a group of people who were otherwise strangers come together and evolve as a group, offering support to each other and becoming able to understand one another. I am so very grateful to those who supported my crowdfund campaign by pledging, sharing, and encouraging me along the way. The Spacehive platform was so easy to use and I was given help when I needed it.

If you have an idea to improve opportunities in your community, check out Spacehive and make your crowdfunding campaign a success. From this crowdfunding campaign I have been given the confidence to set up a Community Interest Company called Pure Buzzin and can now deliver more community beekeeping projects – thanks again to all who have been supportive, especially Meadow Well Connected, SpaceHive, and the North Of Tyne Combined Authority.”

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