A clerical charity which helps jobless Mancunians rebuild their self-confidence to get back into work has expanded its beekeeping activities.
The apiculture branch of Manchester Cathedral’s Volition programme is now also active on the roof of the Treehouse Hotel Manchester, a redeveloped inn located in the city’s Blackfriars area which is set to open next spring.
Manchester Cathedral announced that around 20,000 honeybees would be installed there.
The church said on its website: “Thanks to generous funding from the Property Alliance Group and the Starwards Capital Investments, Volition has been able to purchase and build the ten hives and stands, acquire additional infrastructure, beekeepers suits and employ a beekeeper’s assistant.”
Volition currently already manages 600,000 bees in six hives on the roof of Manchester Cathedral in the city centre and another 480,000 in six at Salford Cathedral in Salford, Greater Manchester.
The honey produced by the bees at the different locations is on sale under the brand name Heavenly Honey at different shops and cafes across the city in northern England.
Underlining the significance of the project’s latest expansion, Manchester Cathedral announced: “All of this will allow the charity to work with and take more people from unemployment into employment.”
Volition employee Catherine Charnock manages the hives at Manchester Cathedral. She told ilovemanchester.com: “When people come to Volition they initially sign up for a 10-week employability course which is delivered by our tutor from Manchester College.
“We also give them the opportunity to go on and volunteer at the Cathedral, which helps them build more vital skills and experience that can help them find a job.”
As she elaborated on her responsibilities, Catherine said: “I teach the beekeeping and we run weekly sessions learning everything from housing a colony, to how to jar and sell the honey.”
Speaking to ilovemanchester.com about her personal apiculture history, she revealed: “I initially got into beekeeping when my son and I were looking for a new hobby. We tried gardening at an allotment, and we met a beekeeper and attended a training session and that’s how the obsession started. We both absolutely loved it.”
Catherine said she considers beekeeping a “great hobby” and emphasised she can “recommend it to everyone.”
The City of Manchester had 552,000 inhabitants last year, up from 503,000 in 2011. The worker bee is one of its symbols for epitomising hard work ethics and undeterred productivity.