The Bee Sanctuary Movement are a local community group and charity based in Levenshulme, South Manchester.

They were only formed in January 2020 but have been incredibly active over the last year, working with a fantastic team of volunteers with the main aim to enhance biodiversity on local green spaces in order to help bees survive. As well as worker bee iconography being inextricably entwined with modern Mancunian social history, the health of bee populations is one of the biggest indicators of global climate change. Well done to The Bee Sanctuary Movement for leading on such an important cause in our city!

In 2020 they transformed an area of nearby Highfield Country Park into a huge Bee Sanctuary, where their management and maintenance of the site includes educating, researching, involving and inspiring many others along the way. They introduced multiple new eco paths and walkways, designated various areas to non-native flowers, vegetables, native wildflower, picnics, ponds, meadow, woodland – nearly everything possible in a garden! They named their woodland edge, ‘Forget-me-not Wood’, as a touching tribute to those that died during the Covid-19 pandemic.

They applied to our Stronger Communities Fund to realise their plans of creating a bee friendly ‘Children’s Allotment with Forest School’ in a secure space on Chapel Street Park, Levenshulme. This is in part inspired by well-known public figure Mark, of the adjacent Blue Bell Inn, who has been dreaming of this project for several years with strong support from local schools and scout groups that are dead keen to get stuck in.

The project has 2 main functions:

  • Providing 25 allotment plots for local children/families to grow plants & veg organically
  • To create a “Forest School” that provides a secure outdoor and small scale education space, for the local and wider community

The allotment space has the opportunity to grow as the spaces become filled, with a potential for 40+ allotments meaning at least 40 children/families can benefit from.They’ll prioritise families that don’t have access to green spaces at home, which is particularly important as much of the community consists of high density housing where garden space is minimal, if present at all, with dangerous levels of air pollution. This project definitely fits in with our aims of making Manchester a greener, healthier, happier place to live!

The Bee Sanctuary Movement told us upon receipt of the award:

“We cannot thank you enough for awarding us with the Stronger Communities grant for our Children’s allotment project. The impact that this is going to have on our local community is huge, it means that we can continue enhancing our progress in transforming this space into a space for our local children to a good quality, affecting countless local families and of course our local bees & wildlife. Having an educational interactive space like this in the heart of our local community is priceless addition, and we can’t wait to get it up and running!“

Well since then, work has well and truly got underway! After waiting for a while due to Covid restrictions they’ve started work onto the site and started the following tasks:

  • Moving flags/bricks
  • Marking out where everything will go
  • Preparing the space for planting
  • Sowed wildflower seeds from home to transfer onto the site
  • Made starter seed packs that people can take home
  • Planted bulbs

They’ve also just started a YouTube channel, where members of the newly formed Friends Of Chapel Street Park – Anna Iris & Esme – sow some of their seeds. Watch the video at the bottom of the page. We’re so glad to have been able to fund this fantastic community project, and will keep you updated on all the progress!

 

 

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