Help look after group’s yellow and black army

A new project in a county village is causing a big buzz.

Works are being carried out at one of the Pegswood Allotment plots to create a dedicated beekeeping garden. The infrastructure is now 90 per cent complete and members of the public can get involved when the scheme is ready.

The Groundwork North East organisation contributed £2,000 towards the cost of labour and materials for phase one of the project. Materials have also been provided by Pegswood Allotment Association and its committee members have assisted the Groundwork team.

A grant of £2,250 from the Community Foundation Fund has been used to purchase three bee colonies and keeping equipment (phase two).

Pegswood Parish Council provided £3,500 for phase three – a large wooden cabin that will be used for observation and educational purposes. An intercom system will be purchased to relay information from the bee garden back to the cabin.

Association secretary Bertie Sexton said it is hoped that the fencing and paving at the garden and the laying of a firm base for the cabin will be completed by the end of the month.

He added: “We have been aware for some time that the honey bee has been in decline, which is a shame because the benefits they bring to the whole ecosystem are enormous.

“We thought this would be a excellent project for the association and local environment and six of out tenants have already received some training.

“We’re very grateful for the funding support that has been given to us and the efforts of the Groundwork team as well as all those from the association who have helped out. We have also received excellent advice from the Alnwick District Beekeepers’ Association.

“Residents are welcome to join the group of beekeepers. They can register their interest at our one stop shop, which is open between 10am and noon on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays.”

During the last 12 months, outer and internal fencing have been erected at various parts of the sites, footpaths and a couple of individual car parking areas have been top dressed with road planings and a new car parking area for certain plots has been established.

Asbestos, foundation rubble and rubbish have been removed and the association continues to draw water from the Bothal Burn to save water costs.

Mr Sexton said: “It has been a very rewarding year and we convey our sincere thanks to all the organisations that have provided us with financial support.

“Our small committed team of committee members, assisted by a few tenant volunteers, have all worked untiringly and played a vital part in providing new facilities to improve the overall general environmental appearance of our allotment site.”