Beekeepers @ KSRC was established in 2012 with the aim of providing courses for “Improver” beekeepers in Kent. This was in response to the burgeoning numbers of people starting beekeeping which was stretching the resources of the 16 local groups and making it difficult for them both to teach new recruits and to help their 2-3 year members become more confident and proficient.
Over time the remit was expanded a little, to include “minority interest” topics such as skep-making and pollen microscopy and to welcome beekeepers from outside Kent. Initially all the courses were classroom based but with generous assistance from Patrick Murfet and David Rudland, hands-on apiary coaching has been on the menu for a few years.
In 2018, we will be keeping our activities at a modest scale, but we are excited to work with the NBU inspectors to offer a Bee Health Day, sponsored by BDI. The response to this course has been overwhelming, and all places are reserved,
Overall, 387 beekeepers have taken advantage of at least one of the 75 courses run during the 5 years we have run Beekeepers @ KSRC.
Initially centred in the Kent Science Resource Centre (KSRC) on the Kent Science Park near Sittingbourne, it was a major problem when that excellent facility became unavailable. Other venues have been used with varying success but it has become increasingly difficult to fill available spaces on the courses which of course impacts seriously on their financial viability. The intention was always to run this enterprise as “not-for-profit” but lately it has not been possible to do more than cover facility hire charges and tutor expenses.
Consequently it has been decided to scale back our efforts, with the occasional one-off event, while we see whether demand for more courses ramps up again.
We thank all those beekeepers who have participated in KSRC courses and thank them for their positive feedback; hopefully we will be able to assist the development of skills in Kent beekeepers in the near future.
While formal KSRC courses will no longer be offered, Bob, Julie and Adrian remain available to support local groups with beekeeping education. If your group manages the venue and student recruitment, we will be happy to act in teaching roles; please simply contact us with your ideas.
Bob Smith, Julie Coleman, Adrian Davis
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