Community groups combine on World Bee Day to help endangered bumbles

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In a pioneering partnership, local charity Buxton Crescent Heritage Trust and voluntary group Friends of Buxton Station are working together during Buxton Fringe to highlight the plight of the Bilberry bumblebee, a rare pollinating insect found only in cooler hilly areas, like Buxton.

Threatened with extinction from the UK due to the warming climate, this special bee has a spectacular orange coloured abdomen, the exact colour adopted by Buxton Fringe and can only feed from certain flowers because it has a short tongue.

Louise Brooks, Head of Education and Engagement at BCHT, remarked on the partnership: "In line with World Bee Day's theme 'bee engaged with youth,' we are excited to host a series of crafting workshops at The Pump Room in Buxton during the Buxton Fringe Festival in July.

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"These workshops are designed to inspire young individuals to create bees from recycled materials. Additionally, in collaboration with FoBS, we invite the community to participate in The Great Buxton Bilberry Bumblebee Hunt across local shops to discover ways to support bee conservation."

Illustration by Becca ThorneIllustration by Becca Thorne
Illustration by Becca Thorne

Dave Carlisle, Chairman of FoBS added: "our announcement falls within Community Rail Week, where we are showing that our work is more than ‘about stations and railways.’ Helping threatened bees is really important, especially if we can enthuse others to help them too."

World Bee Day, observed on May 20th, highlights the critical role of bees and other pollinators in global food security and ecosystem health. The United Nations emphasizes the urgency of protecting these species to combat hunger and preserve biodiversity.

The 2024 theme, "Bee engaged with Youth," encourages young people's involvement in beekeeping and conservation, aiming to cultivate future environmental custodians. This initiative also advocates for sustainable agriculture and reduced chemical use to enhance pollination and food quality.

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This is one of over 80 community-led activities and events taking place across Britain during Community Rail Week. Community Rail Week, organised by Community Rail Network and sponsored by Rail Delivery Group, returns for its fourth year 20 - 26 May and will showcase the innovative projects and inspiring initiatives from across the community rail movement around the theme of ‘More Than a Railway’.

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The idea behind the theme is to showcase the inspiring work that goes on in community rail bringing people together and creating more inclusive communities and mobility, as well as the wider socio-economic benefit that the railways deliver.

Community rail is a grassroots national movement supported by hundreds of community partnerships, groups and volunteers to improve travel confidence, increase access to opportunities, tackle social isolation, give communities a voice, and put railways and stations at the heart of community life, while supporting a shift to sustainable, more social forms of travel, including rail.

Statistics from Community Rail Network reveal that each year, more than 8,000 volunteers give around 370,000 hours of their time to community rail, worth £32million in social value to individuals and their communities.

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In addition, an estimated 65,000 young people per year are involved in community rail education programmes and youth engagement activities, spanning more than 1,500 schools, colleges and youth groups.

Jools Townsend, chief executive of Community Rail Network, said: “Community rail partnerships and thousands of ‘station friends’ volunteers the length and breadth of Britain are mobilising en masse, engaging local people and partners to raise awareness about sustainable travel by rail, and get people enthused about its many benefits.

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"Community Rail Week is about bringing people together around the theme of ‘More Than a Railway’. Community rail has an inspiring track record of promoting travel confidence and broadening mobility horizons, sometimes with life-changing effects, while giving communities a voice on transport, and putting railways and stations at the heart of community life.”

The Buxton Crescent Heritage Trust (BCHT) is a community-focused charity dedicated to honouring and maintaining the distinctive heritage of Buxton Crescent. It achieves this through engaging educational initiatives, a variety of events, and providing information to visitors. The Trust plays a pivotal role in bolstering the local community, aiding businesses, and enhancing the dynamic tourism sector of Buxton.

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FoBS is an unfunded voluntary community rail group. who also undertake community work in Buxton.

The Buxton Crescent Trust welcomes the public to a series of bee-themed events, designed to entertain and educate on the importance of these essential pollinators. Engage in the creation of unique crafts on select dates, and participate in The Great Buxton Bilberry Bumblebee Hunt available daily during the Fringe—maps are available at the Pump Room.

The family craft sessions will be held in The Pump Room on the 6th, 7th, 14th, 20th, and 21st of July, from 11 am to 1 pm, suitable for children aged 4 to 15. While the event is free, donations are appreciated. For additional details, please contact [email protected].

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