The Southern Co-operative introduces a new bee colony at Lakeside North Harbour
The Southern Co-operative, which recently moved its headquarters to Highcross’ Lakeside North Harbour scheme in Portsmouth, has developed its own apiary in the development’s grounds.
In line with other co-operatives, The Southern Co-operative - an independent regional business based in Portsmouth - is very keen to support the national campaign 'Plan Bee' which is addressing the decline of the honey bee.
Highcross has provided a plot of land at Lakeside North Harbour for four hives and the bees will be managed on behalf of The Southern Co-operative by volunteers from the Portsmouth and District Beekeepers Association. The main aim of the apiary is to maximise the number of native bees by using the hives purely for breeding and then splitting colonies.
Lee Franklin, from The Southern Co-operative is managing the project for the business, and commented: “The relocation of our head office to Lakeside, with its mature landscaped environment, provided us with an excellent opportunity to set up and manage our own apiary.
"In 2009, The Co-operative Group launched Plan Bee, a campaign to help reverse the decline in the UK bee population. We are very pleased to support our sister society in this national campaign by doing something practical and measurable towards its end goal. Thanks to Lakeside management we were granted a significant plot of land for our project to work, and our hives are in a secret location covered by CCTV to protect the bees. We were lucky enough to source a cabinet maker working at our Co-operative Funeralcare in Portsmouth, who expertly built the hives.
“Myself and our Society Vice-Chairman have registered with the British Beekeepers Association and we will be getting involved with looking after the hives alongside the beekeepers.”
John Perry from the Portsmouth and District Beekepers Association (PDBKA), said: "The honey bee is an important pollinator of crops and flowers. In the last decade numbers have declined for a number of reasons, not all of which are fully understood. Research continues, but in the meantime beekeepers, amateur and professional, are managing their bees, trying to keep numbers up. It is good that The Southern Co-operative is supporting these efforts, and I hope that the Lakeside apiary will contribute to the local bee population and crop fertility."
Highcross director, Nick Turner, added: "We were delighted when The Southern Co-operative approached us to site some bee hives at Lakeside, North Harbour. We recognise the importance of bees in the environment and were only too pleased to be able to offer some space in our landscaped, lakeside environment with its meadows of wild flowers, as an additional habitat beneficial to bees."
(left to right) Lee Franklin, Membership Co-ordinator, The Southern Co-operative; Austin Taylor from Co-operative Funeralcare; John Perry from Portsmouth Beekeepers Association; Mark Smith, Chief Executive of The Southern Co-operative and David Nield from Portsmouth Beekeepers Association at the new Lakeside apiary.
For further information regarding The Southern Co-operative contact Sue King, Corporate Marketing Advisor, The Southern Co-operative, T: 02392 222 646, M: 07894 787855