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Beehives Buzzing Again
A community beehive project which was wrecked by vandals has received a £1,386 grant towards the cost of planting bee-enticing wild flowers.
Avondale Community Beekeepers has been awarded the cash from the Banks Community Fund to set up a wildflower garden near its 20 active hives dotted around the Stonehouse and Strathaven areas.
Back in May beehives, each containing about 3,000 bees, were destroyed by vandals within hours of the project being launched near an old railway line.
The hives were rebuilt and hidden in secret locations.
Dad-of-five and grandfather David Paterson, from Strathaven, came up with the idea of having one of the beehives in his garden, which has led to other people wanting to get involved.
After receiving initial funding from the National Lottery the group is now 30-strong, with local schools now also taking an active part.
Paterson said: “The beehives have become a real talking point in the local area and a great example of what is possible when a community comes together for a worthy and holistic cause.
“Following great support from local schools, we now have 10 schoolchildren from age four upwards helping to manage the hives and the project has proven to be highly educational and rewarding for those involved.
“Wildflowers are in seriously high demand among the beekeepers, who are desperate to get their hands on seeds as they are crucial for the hives to survive and flourish, so this grant will be very well received.”
He said the efforts to save the beehives have been quite remarkable.
One volunteer scooped up all the bees that had fallen to the ground from one hive, while three of the younger helpers, Amy, Kate and Lucy, offered £1.80 from their weekly pocket money to help.
“Such is the love that the kids have for their bees,” he said.
Siobhan Samson, community engagement co-ordinator at Banks Group – the Hamilton-based property and renewable energy business – said: “It is clear how much this project means to the local community following recent events.
“We work extensively with local communities at all of our wind-farm proposals. We hope to create lasting improvements that are beneficial to locals in and around South Lanarkshire, providing them with a better quality of community life.
“The beekeepers are a fantastic example of this and we hope their wildflowers help the hives thrive and begin to pay themselves.”
In May 2014, Banks Renewables had plans approved for its 26-turbine Kype Muir Wind Farm 5km south of Strathaven. As part of its Connect2Renewables partnership with South Lanarkshire Council and neighbouring communities, the firm pledged a percentage of revenue generated will be allocated to the community.