Wigan college is buzzing to help dying bee population

Year 10 school children from Bishop Rawstorne with colleges carpentry and joinery lecturer Gareth Hill.
Year 10 school children from Bishop Rawstorne with colleges carpentry and joinery lecturer Gareth Hill.

Wigan school pupils joined forces with youngsters from across the region to help create over 130 “hotels” for bees.

The students at Wigan & Leigh College’s Carpentry and Joinery department, based at the Pagefield Centre, found out about the declining population of bees and wanted to take action.

They chose this project to coincide with pupils sampling the course and to combat the falling bee population – which is partly due to loss of habitat.

The college held its annual sampling season where Year 10 pupils at schools from the region visit to experience the state-of-the-art facilities and to try out a selection of subjects while getting a taste for the college life.

Over the last two months, along with the help of the school pupils, the college have produced over 130 “bee hotels” which provide a habitat for Solitary bees.

These bees aren’t like honeybees that live in hives. As their name suggests, they make nests on their own and lay their eggs in tunnels, such as in dead wood, and the bee hotel mimics these conditions.

Back in 1842 Manchester’s coat of arms first featured a bee due to the area’s industrious past and hardworking attitude. More recently, the symbol has represented the region’s unity following the tragic Manchester bombing. It is clear to see the region has embraced bees.

Proud learners from around the borough have taken their creations home and not only enhanced their gardens, but given the endangered insect a home.

Carpentry and Joinery Lecturer, Gareth Hill, who led the workshops said:“The quality of work produced by the children was often very high. The department enjoyed welcoming the school children and hopefully this project helped to inspire the next generation into many different careers within the construction trade.”

Learners got a real buzz from drilling, sawing and hammering. Feedback on how the sessions went were very positive with one learner saying: “The tutor was extra supportive and tried to help as many people as he could.”

Plumbing Technician and keen gardener Jacqui Whitehead loved the bee hotels so much she included one in her show garden at this year’s Tatton Park Flower Show.

The team plans to produce more bee hotels with learners, planning to sell and raise money for the local charity The Brick.