Blackburne House’s BEE You project engaged young people to undertake a programme of theoretical and practical beekeeper training. The team developed various iterations of the education programme to ensure inclusivity for learners. Different lengths of the programme (taster sessions, 4 week, 12 weeks and 15 weeks) catered for age, location and capability. The team also introduced a longer and more intensive environmental programme called the ECO Social Enterprise Mini MBA Programme with The Tauheedal Islam Girls High School; 71 young women went through this programme.
The project provided 694 learners with beekeeping and entrepreneurship skills plus an understanding of product making using the bi products from the hive. It also reached 2,988 other young people when showcasing the project at open days and recruitment days.
The project has been beneficial in reducing mental health and increasing social connection for young people. Learners that were quiet in their normal classrooms grew in confidence and contributed more in outdoor classrooms. Many have, with their families also begun raising bees in their gardens, which have improved familial relationships and access to local honey.
The project developed six training apiaries around Liverpool and improved the space around them. Partnership working was key to developing these sites; partners included South Liverpool Homes, Groundwork, Incredible Edibles, Carr Farm, Morgan Sindall and Liverpool City Council.
Four schools involved with the project also began their own honey brand and sold local honey to local families. This was run and managed by the school with the support of their pupils. This was driven by them due to their new knowledge and attitude to in saving the local honey bee but also the medicinal properties of locally sourced honey.
What has been an excellent legacy of this project is that Blackburne House’s education function is now using the beekeeping qualification workbooks developed by the project team and offering the Lantra Level 1 qualification within its mainstream curriculum.
Learn more about bee keeping during lockdown in this blog, read Rachel’s blog about her journey in becoming a bee keeping tutor and Aaron’s blog about attending the Youth Forum meet up and his story. You can also download the project evaluation report.