Sarah Jane Hodge=Artist

It’s expanding every day – but what should it be called? Bee gateway? Portal? Something that encapsulates the purpose of the LandWorks project (that is: a supported route back into the community and employment for prisoners and ex-prisoners) and the bee-inspired appearance.

I came across a fantastic charity, Connectar, who are “rehabilitating disadvantaged people into society by addressing the barriers to resettlement” while simultaneously saving the honey bee – excellent! It occurred to me that Connectar could be quite a fitting name for the sculpture, hmmmm back to the drawing board – suggestions welcome in a box (as in the comment box below).

Today I added solitary bee nests made from bamboo and a wooden stump, and tested out some planting of wild flowers – also known as weeds. If they survive the next few days we’re on to a winner.

Charity aiming to save re-offenders as well as bees

3:00pm Friday 26th September 2014 A FORMER worker from HMP Hewell has given up her well paid job, pension and friends, to embark on a new adventure.

Susie Charnock recently made the tough decicion to leave her post to work for the charity Connectar Training and Biodiversity Trust, which aims to train socially disadvantaged groups, as well as save the honey bee.

She said: "It was easy to identify first hand one of the biggest issues surrounding re-offending behaviour was the lack of employment, and it was for this reason I was able to join an organisation who are passionate about bridging this gap.

"Connectars unique concept is to combine and harmonise its two charitable aims of training socially disadvantaged groups such as long-term unemployed, ex-service men and women, disabled and ex-offenders with its biodiversity aim of saving the honey bee."

People working with the trust take part in woodworking courses to build bee hives, as part of an accredited course.

The hives are then donated locally with the hope that bees will contribute directly to local food production, through pollination, crop and fruit production.

Ms Charnock said: "It is our aim to become a nationally recognised training centre offering free training on a 12 week City and Guilds backed accredited woodwork machinery course. This minimum level of qualification is essential for clients to secure employment within the woodworking industry, either within our organisation or elsewhere.

"We currently have sites ready to accept over 500 bee hives locally and across Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, and West Midlands, and this number is growing."

She added: "The charity recently partnered with Alcester Bee Friendly Town and are looking to develop this and other partnerships.

"We are also hoping to secure workshop premises. The workshop needs to be ideally located in the Alcester/Redditch area, have electricity and toilet facilities and an office would be a bonus."

She appealed for anyone who may be able to help to get in touch.

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