Published: Monday, 6th June 2022

A local community group is buzzing with the news that thanks to their efforts, Kenilworth has been officially named a ‘Bee Friendly Town’ by the Bee Friendly Trust.

The title of ‘Bee Friendly Town’ is awarded to groups and communities that have implemented a wide range of initiatives to protect and promote pollinators, and Kenilworth is one of only six locations in the country to be awarded this title.

‘Bee Friendly Kenilworth’ was formed by residents Fern Arnold, Jo Harper and Councillors Alix Dearing and James Kennedy in an attempt to address the significant decline in pollinator numbers, due to loss of habitats for foraging, nesting and breeding and use of pesticides.

Over the past two years the group has been working with local volunteers, schools and the community on a number of schemes to promote the growth of wildflowers in green spaces, parks and also private gardens.

Jo Harper from Bee Friendly Kenilworth commented:

“One of our main aims has been to encourage residents to leave wild areas in their own gardens and to reduce their use of toxic pesticides. While many people may appreciate the appearance of a closely-mown ‘Wimbledon' lawn, they may not realise that this removes all sources of food for pollinators. It is like going to a supermarket with empty shelves! Bumblebees need to feed at least every 40 minutes, which is why having more, connected gardens, planters, window boxes full of pollen-/nectar-rich flowers is essential.”

The project has been supported by Warwick District Council’s Green Spaces Team who have been trialling areas of reduced mowing in the Park Hill area of Kenilworth. This allows wildflowers to grow that are in the natural seedbank, with other appropriate seeds being added over time.

Councillors, officers and volunteers with their bee friendly signs

Councillor Alan Rhead, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Neighbourhood Services commented:

“We’ve been delighted to work alongside Bee Friendly Kenilworth on a number of sites in the town, where we have been taking measures to encourage pollinators, through careful planting and also a reduction in mowing during the spring and summer. This has also been replicated across the district with areas of our parks and green spaces, which would have once just been grass now full of beautiful and nectar rich flowers.”

"This is just one of many actions where the District Council is encouraging our residents to join in helping our Climate Change Action plan. I am thrilled that this Kenilworth Group is sharing their experience with other areas, helping to launch a district wide campaign which can help to improve the conditions for the bee population."

Bee Friendly Kenilworth also offers “Why Bees Matter” assemblies for primary schools to raise awareness among younger children and to get them involved in planting pollen-rich seeds in pots for their school or home.  

Jo Harper added:

“We are keen to show that everyone can make a difference and that even small measures can have a big impact.  For example, one pot of lavender could help a struggling queen bee to survive and then start a whole new colony."

Bee Friendly Kenilworth’s bid for the award was also supported by Kenilworth Town Council’s Climate Roadmap Group and other groups who are working to help local biodiversity, such as the volunteer gardeners in Talisman Square, who have been brightening up the town with their wonderful flower displays and have even knitted bees hanging from the trees. 

Since receiving the award, BFK has received interest from other towns and villages across the district including Warwick, Leamington and Cubbington and has been happy to assist them in setting up their own Bee Friendly towns. 

Visitors to the Kenilworth Lion’s Grand Show at Abbey Fields this Saturday 11 June can find out more about the project by visiting the Town Council’s Climate Roadmap stand.

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