- To further and promote the craft of beekeeping
- To advance the education of the public in the importance of bees in the environment.
The unified voice of British Beekeeping
This has been a busy month with several meetings, Chatsworth Flower Show, statistical surveys and not forgetting our own beekeeping, if we have time, to check on our own colonies. At least it is cooler at the moment, quite a relief after the high temperatures we have endured whilst fully suited inspecting the hives.
NB- This has been send to Branch and Association Secretaires. Please disseminate amongst your members.
A great success
This year the Marquee was in a good position at the show and of course the weather was great, slight rain on the Friday which soon cleared up, then sunshine for the rest of the day. The ‘Hive Alive’ was again a big hit and we worked in conjunction with Derbyshire Beekeepers who gave a really good show.
The set initial up was over the previous weekend and this year Stephen Barnes, our Vice Chair arrived to help get everything in place. He said he has an enormous amount of respect for the Shows Committee volunteers as they never stopped until everything was perfect. The garden design by Andrew Caine was lovely and visitors were stopping to take photographs so they could copy the planting in their own gardens. The volunteers started on the Sunday getting the equipment ready and it was the following Sunday, at the close of the show before they could start to pack up and go home. I think the BBKA membership and Trustees owe these people a very big vote of thanks.
We have sent out requests for quotations to provide additional toilet facilities and a disabled access and WC at Stoneleigh. We have also started enquiries to get some help with developing the apiary. We contacted Pershore University as they have a garden design department and they are interested in helping us by providing a design for the apiary which will be bee-friendly and lovely to look at and sit in. We will need a very large cabin with one wall of glass to allow people to see what is going on inside a hive without the need for bee suits.
It is all very exciting and we are hoping to have much of the work either completed or well advanced by Spring next year. If you are down at Stoneleigh for any reason, do make a visit to the offices to see how we are developing our Centre of Excellence. Margaret Murdin and George Brown are leading on this project so I know that it will be absolutely superb when it is finished.
General and Advanced Husbandry
In 2018 there were a total of 92 BBKA members who expressed an interest in the GH training. There were 7 training venues based on their addresses and proximity to the venue.
Marin Anastasov organised and took part in both the General and Advanced Husbandry training, he also surveyed all the participants after the training to judge how they considered the value of the training was. 96% of the participants of the survey stated that the training met their expectations. Many expressed that the training may be better on a residential three-day course. This is something that we will look at in the future.
The Exam Board is working tirelessly to get as many people through this as possible and I believe that the pass rate is getting better. I hope that our Special Editions are having a part to play in this and if you are thinking of doing either the General or Advanced Husbandry in the future, please do get the Special Edition books to help you on the way.
Again, we have to thank volunteers and Trustees for giving their time to this, they have been up and down the country getting people prepared at first and later covering the exams. I must add, that if one person trains you they are not allowed to assess you, just to keep everything fair.
There were 45 applicants for General Husbandry and 27 for Advanced Husbandry for this year. General Husbandry numbers were up by 3 from last year but the Advanced Husbandry is down by 8 although last year was considered to be an exception. The Honey Bee Heath and Hygiene assessment is new this year and is purely practical...post Basic creating a step between the Basic and General Husbandry.
I believe that we will need to recruit additional staff for the office to cater for the success of the shop and also to help with the new database.
Jacqueline Vagg looks after the accounts and has had additional work to do. Initially, because of the Spring Convention and then of course with changing banks and setting up payment details all over again as the bank we are leaving is not able to do an automatic transfer as other banks are able to do. All this has added to Jacqueline’s work load and equally the other staff have had to accommodate the additional work transferring the old database of Members to the new database. Eventually this will make life easier but the transition is not easy. Add to that the success of the Special Editions and the Shop.
Sarah who manages this is run off her feet and there are days when everyone has to lend a hand to get the goods out of the office door for members. We are looking to recruit a full time person to help with the accounts and a junior to help with the shop. It certainly is not cost efficient for our specialist staff to be wrapping up books for sale. This will add to the salary bill, but the rewards will be the income from the increased sales and the ease of the new membership database when it is all completed.
Last year we were legally obliged to send a full report to the Charities Commission regarding the accusation of staff bullying by a Trustee. We have now received a letter from the Charities Commission which asks several pertinent questions regarding this report which included the decision of the Delegates not to support the suspension.
We are required to provide several documents to the Commission including the minutes of the AGM and they have also asked what action was taken regarding the decision at the ADM not to uphold the suspension. In fact, we did not take action at all and now find that we may be in breach of the Charities Commission Rules. All other aspects of their enquiry we are able to cover, except this one item. As Chair this year, it would have been my responsibility to take any necessary action so I apologise for not completing this task after the ADM.
All the current Trustees are committed to ensuring that your staff are treated with respect and in line with the Charities Commission, the law and good employment practice. Bullying in any form will not be tolerated no matter what excuse people may have.
All Trustees who are budget holders are having to sharpen their pencils for next year’s budgets. This is not an easy task, more like looking through a crystal ball in some cases! We have to calculate what the income will be, take into account the standard running costs of the Head Office, look at research, education, print costs, development of the site, exams, shows, communications, legal, insurance cover, auditors fee’s the cost of transfer to a CIO cost of meetings (ADM) etc., Spring Convention, travel costs and a myriad of other items which all have to be costed by each budget holder. The budget has to match the projected income exactly, just as we all have to match our household spending to our own income.
We then have to monitor the budget each month and we depend on the office staff to produce figures to allow us to do that and to make sure that we are able to control our spending but be able to respond to emergencies as well.
We all hope that by the end of the year we have managed the finances to match the budgets, this is not easy as the Capitation comes in twice a year, but other items come in on a monthly basis so we have to rely on each other to be in complete control of our own allocation of funds.
Let’s hope that this year we achieve the hat trick and manage this year’s budget without going over our spending.
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The British Bee Keepers Association
National Agricultural Centre