Schools are buzzing to keep bees in Somerset

Set up in August of 2018, Root Connections is a community interest company (CIC) that supports its local community through a range of initiatives. The CIC received a grant from our Environment Fund to help carry out a beekeeping project at Manor Farm in Stratton-on-the-Fosse.

We met up with Sue Cross Bourton, who is the Manager at Root Connections, to learn more about the project.

Tell us a bit about Root Connections!

Sue: We predominantly support vulnerable adults, who are homeless or sleeping rough, through Community Volunteer Land Days held at our community market garden, with the aim of improving their health and wellbeing. We have also started offering education courses and workshops to local schools.

What is the company's goal?

Sue: We aim to help individuals on their journey of recovery and rehabilitation by creating a welcoming environment where people feel safe. This is achieved by helping people to learn new skills and gain qualifications, while also building their self-confidence.

What type of work do you do with local schools?

Sue: City-based schools love to visit our farm - they learn all about where their food comes from and how to care for the environment. We love helping children to build their self-confidence and resilience, as well as a love for the outdoors.

How will our funding support the company?

Sue: The funding has allowed us to purchase some junior bee suits so that schools can interact with our bees and experience how to care for them, helping us to give children a much richer experience. We also hope to buy some additional educational resources for pupils to take away with them.

How do bees and pollinators support the environment?

Sue: Without bees, we wouldn’t have a range of foods. They are essential to growing food and creating habitats as they allow plants to seed and fruit, which is why it’s important we’re educated from an early age on how to look after them.

Why is this project so important?

Sue: We hope that by making beekeeping accessible to local schools we will help to nurture a love for nature and the outdoors, while also helping children to gain a better understanding of how fragile our ecosystem is and the importance of biodiversity.