Bees are hugely important for our environment, helping to pollinate plants and keeping our country green. But they are on the decline, with their habitats shrinking in built up areas.
St George is now playing a part in helping London's bees, with new hives located on the roof tops of their Chelsea Creek development. This is now home to 50,000 bees at the height of summer. Dr Luke Dixon, from Urban Bee Keeping, manages the delicate operation by tending to the bees and harvesting the honey.
To date, 14 jars of delicious honey have been produced. The proceeds made from its sale will go to one of St George's designated charities; the aptly named Honeypot Children's Charity. These donations will support Honeypot's work to enhance the lives of young carers and vulnerable children aged 5-12 years, by providing respite breaks and ongoing outreach support.
Whilst the donations are important, the medium of 'honey and bees' has led to further collaborations between Honeypot and St George. Some of the children supported by Honeypot will visit the Chelsea Creek development and view the bees in action. They will also get a tour of the ongoing construction works to give the children an opportunity to view the industry, and hopefully inspire the next generation of homebuilders.
Recent research has estimated the value of the UK's 1500 species of pollinators, including bees, wasps, beetles and butterflies, at £400 - 680 million per year due to the increased productivity of crop pollination. The British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) estimates that bees alone contribute £200m a year to the economy and that if people were to take over the job of pollination from bees in the UK it would require a work force of some 30 million.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove announced in October 2018 that new funding to protect bees will be made available: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/michael-gove-announces-new-funding-to-protect-bees
Berkeley Homes (North East London) has also got beehives on their Goodman's Fields development, and we are looking forward to seeing additional ones on future sites.