Bees at our AGM
Many thanks to all those who attended our AGM earlier this moth. The minutes are up on the website. We had exciting wildlife news.
WWCE Non-Exec Director Rob Gillies briefly updated the meeting on land management matters, including positive results from the annual ecology monitoring report from Chelworth and our plans to review the existing Land and Ecological Monitoring Plan for Braydon to ensure that it is fit for purpose and better reflects the current condition of the site and ambitions to improve the biodiversity particularly of the grassland on site.
AGM attendees also heard about the installation of our two new innovative ‘thermosolar beehives’ as part of a national pilot project funded by the Naturesave Trust. We have appointed a qualified beekeeper who will be introducing new honeybee colonies in the new beekeeping season in Spring next year.
Tom Worsley, the project manager, provided some background, including on the devastating impact of the parasitic varroa mite on bee colonies, which the thermosolar hives are designed to kill, without harming the bees and avoiding the need for repeat application of chemical treatments. As well as honeybees, we are also working with the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, which looks after land management at Chelworth, on developing new habitat to support other pollinators, including ground-nesting native bee species with the creation of bee and bug hotels and ground nesting sites.
Community Fund Update
The Community Fund has awarded four grants for a total of £15,195 in 2018-2019. It has supported the Wiltshire Scrapstore, Gloucester Road Allotment, Salisbury Community Energy’s new scheme and “Seeds for Success” which involved students from Salisbury College in developing business cases for creating renewable energy projects.
The Community Fund Panel is set up as a subcommittee of WWCE with members nominated by the WWCE Board, members of WWCE and WWT. It aims to support initiatives in wildlife conservation, climate change mitigation, alleviation of fuel poverty and promotion of sustainability. The WWT is paid to administer the fund on behalf of WWCE, with an additional unconditional donation of 20% given to WWT to support their charitable objectives.
The Fund has now developed a simpler application process for grants for smaller amounts and we would welcome interest from schools or Parish Councils or other community organisations. Download more information from our website.
WWCE would like to thank those members who donate their interest payments directly into the Community Fund. We would also like to thanks the members if the Community Fund Panel, particularly its chair, Peter Newell, who donate their time and expertise to process the applications and monitor the results of the grants.
We would also welcome interest from any members of WWCE who might like to put forward their names to become part of the Community Fund Panel.