Published date 5 October 2022

Celebrating those getting the West of England buzzing

Jessie and Rhys at the mass planting event

The winners of an awards scheme to showcase West of England groups taking positive steps to support bees and other pollinators have been announced by Metro Mayor Dan Norris.

The Metro Mayor brought together local residents, companies and community groups to award the region’s first-ever Bee Bold Awards to celebrate the West’s very best “bee buddies”, on Saturday 1 October at Siston Common, Kingswood.

From schools to shops, from factories to local community groups, over 40 pollinator-friendly organisations across the length of the region applied to take part in this year’s inaugural awards.

There were 5 awards up for grabs in two award categories:

Space for nature - recognising organisations that have created gardens and other pollinator-friendly spaces within their workplaces; winners:

  • Community Organisation Winner – Redcatch Community Garden
  • Broader  Organisation Joint Winner – NHS Trust North Bristol
  • Broader Organisation Joint Winner – Ecus Ltd

People for nature - recognising organisations that engage their employees, customers, partners and local communities to create spaces for nature; winners:

  • Community Organisation Winner – Thornbury Orchard
  • Broader  Organisation Winner – Grow Wilder
  • Schools entrants Winner – Wheatfield Primary School

Tim Clark, Ecus Ltd’s Regional Lead – South West and South Wales, said: “Ecus is delighted to have been selected as a Bee Bold Awards winner. I think our example is slightly different from many as it actually involved doing less! A single constructive conversation with our landlord has meant fewer chemicals being used to manage the space, resulting in more plant diversity and therefore food source for pollinators. It’s also a much nicer view from the office window than a barren sea of gravel! We help our clients protect the environment every day, and this is an example of how positive communication can benefit both people and nature.”

The Mayor and award winners also took part in a mass planting event with South Gloucestershire Council at Siston Common with the help of locals. Together, over 300 volunteers planted more than 8,000 wildflower plants to create a brand new wildflower meadow on Siston Common. This is part of South Gloucestershire Council’s Common Connections project, funded by nearly £1m of investment from the West of England Combined Authority. Equipment for the mass planting event was provided by sponsors Burgon & Ball and was donated to Kingsmeadow @ Made Forever Community Hub and Avon Wildlife Trust afterwards.

The awards scheme is part of a wider package of measures from Metro Mayor Dan Norris to make the West of England the bee and pollinator capital of the UK. He said: “Bees and pollinators are not just nice to have - they are absolutely essential to ensuring we can have the fresh fruit and veg we eat year-round and keeping our precious countryside and forests maintained and cared for. That’s why they’re a priority for the West of England Combined Authority I lead. I'm absolutely thrilled to celebrate the winners of this region’s first Bee Bold Awards and to meet some of the amazing pollinator-pal groups going above and beyond to support our precious pollinators, and give them the recognition they absolutely deserve. I hope these award winners inspire others to take action too, whether that be letting their gardens grow wild for longer periods in the year or throwing away those bee-harming pesticides. This is a really important step as we get down to the bees-niss of making the West of England the best place in the whole country for our region’s pollinator superheroes.”

The West of England Combined Authority wants to work with partners to support a wide variety of pollinators, acting as an example to other regions from across the country to take similar actions and address the loss of biodiversity in our towns and cities. For more information, please see our Bee Bold website.

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