Our Bees Need You

By Newbattle Beekeepers Association

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Did You Know

Almost a third of all the food grown in the world depends on pollination by bees. We all know that bees pollinate our strawberries and apples but few of us realise they are essential for crops like oil seed rape that is used as animal feed. It is reputed that Einstein once said that if the bees disappeared off the surface of the globe, man would have only four years to live. So it is vital that we look after our bees because they look after us!

Research has shown a massive decline of over 50% in many species of bees within the UK. A recent review by the University of Reading and Friends of the Earth show that:

- Honeybee colonies fell by 53% between 1985 and 2005
- Wild honeybees are thought to be nearly extinct
- Bee diversity has declined in 52% of British landscapes

The 'Bee Minders' at Newbattle Abbey are a dedicated bunch of  beekeepers keen to expand their knowledge in the art and craft of beekeeping. They want to help sustain and grow the bee population and to pass on their aquired skills, knowledge and experience to novice and young beekeepers and also to the wider community in the surrounding area.

Two of the junior trainee beekeepers inspecting a hive

We deliver bee education that can lead to Scottish Beekeeper Association (SBA) certification. Since 2010 fifty-five senior and six junior trainee beekeepers have successfully completed the Basic Beekeeper certificate with distinction, increasing the ranks of Scotland's bee champions. We want to expand this activity to include SBA modular courses and to provide facilities to deliver a microscopy course. Our apiarists will be able to study the health of the honeybee as well as the pollen they harvest during their foraging flights. We will also house our growing library  of books and magazines and make use of the space to host visiting guest speakers and provide space to neighbouring beekeeping associations.  

Preparing for honey extraction

To this end we have decided to set up the Newbattle Bee Academy that will see the initiative established in the grounds of Newbattle Abbey College which was set up in 1937 by Philip Kerr, 11th Marquis of Lothian when he gifted Newbattle and its estate to the people of Scotland to be used as a residential adult education college. The main building dates from the 16th century and was built on the foundations of a 12th century Cistercian monastery where monks kept honeybees, mined for coal and harvested salt from the salt pans they built on the coast a short distance from Newbattle. 

Newbattle Abbey College

The focus is on lifelong learning, raising aspirations and  supporting learners in transition. Newbattle college responds to the needs of individuals and communities and part of this is the support to Newbattle Beekeepers in providing land for our teaching apiary and a small storage building in which to keep our tools and equipment.  



The teaching apiary in the grounds of Newbattle College

But there’s a problem

Our facilities although adequate for our teaching apiary and storage requirements are not at all suitable for the Bee Academy. The college trustees are willing to allow us to use a wooden hut adjacent to the main college building which was built in the run up to the second world war for the Auxiliary Territorial Service and the Royal Army Medical Corps and used as their administration centre and training facility. It was last used by the armed forces in 1950, almost 70 years ago. Since then it has fallen into disrepair.

The timber huts when in use by the army   

(photograph courtesy of Imperial War Museum)


The WW2 Hut - (The Proposed Bee Academy) - as it is today

As you can see the building is in a delapidated state. We have commissioned a survey to identify the work needed and the anticipated costs associated with the refurbishment.




What we would like it to 

This Hut was recently refurbished by the college and is used by the residential students as their 'hang-out'

Here’s what the survey is telling us 

We should initially focus on bringing the building up to a habitable standard to provide the following facilities

  • Meeting & classroom space
  • Microscope area 
  • Kitchen area
  • Library area
  • Storage area

We have a plan -       


Work is needed to both the exterior and interior of the building to achieve the facilities we have identified. Newbattle Abbey College will offer a 10 year lease at a peppercorn rent in return for us refurbishing the building which is going to cost around £25,000. We believe this to be a mutually beneficial arrangement and are keen to get started with the work needed on the hut. We have identified the tradesmen needed to do the work, all we need now are the funds.

This is where YOU can join us

Our financial resources are very limited and we will not be able to launch the Bee Academy with out your help. The refurbishment cost plan indicates our expenditure will be:

External Fabric

  • Substructure.                      £     450
  • Timber Cladding.             £2,615       
  • Windows.                                £4,405 
  • Doors.                                         £    400  
  • Roof Drainage.                     £1,015
  • Roof.                                             £     550


Internal Works

  • Clearance.                                £    350
  • Wall & Ceiling Linings.   £1,360
  • New Partitions.                   £1,365 
  • Toilet.                                           £    850 
  • Kitchen Area.                          £    750
  • Floor Coverings.                   £    860
  • Electrical Installation.     £2,940


  • Contingencies (allow)      £3,000
  • Vat (allow).                                £4,182  

 Grand Total.                                    £25,092


We can't do it without you.  

Take a look below at some amazing perks that are on offer for supporting us that both you and the bees can’t live without.

Decide which one is for you and select it from the Perks menu on the right.


Here is your starter for £10.        

Your name or company logo recognised on the supporters page of our website

         £25 will get....

Your name or company logo recognised on the supporters page of our website plus

Your 'name in the frame' -      

Your name or company logo added to the roll of honour and permanently displayed in the refurbished Bee Academy.


For £50 the package gets better......    

Your name or company logo recognised on the supporters page of our website plus

Your 'name in the frame'        Plus

Your name in a sponsored library book used in the Bee Academy.                                                 

(your name or company logo will be permanently added to the inside front cover of the library book).    


                   What if I donated £100?         


 Your name or company logo recognised on the supporters page of our website


Your 'name in the frame'


Your name in a sponsored book 


Get the Buzz - A half day visit to the Newbattle teaching Apiary. Visit the Apiary as part of a small group.

You will get to dress up in a Bee Suite and observe life inside a bee hive. You never know, you might also get to meet the  .

You will also see one of the latest innovations in bee keeping - The Flow Hive invented in Australia by Stu and Cedar Anderson. We have a demonstration hive at the teaching apiary.

The Flow Hive National Super



 How About £250?                                 

As if all of the above wasn't enough, you also get an invitation to our Academy launch party when the refurbishment is complete. There are limited tickets so get in early. Get to sample our home baking with many of the items having our home produced honey as an ingredient


Sponsor a Hive in the Teaching Apiary

Have your name or company logo on one of the hives in the teaching apiary (limited to 15) Your hive will be referenced with your name in hive record cards and refered to by name in any discussions during our practical sessions. We'll send you a photo, invite you to the Academy launch party and of course you will be welcome to join us on one of the apiary visits.

All for £500




What would you name your window? 

The windows in the hut are in a sorry state and will be one of the big ticket items to restore. They currently look like this  

   We would like them to look like this. 


Will get your name or company logo permanently on one of the eleven main windows. You could create a legacy for someone else and give them the gift of a founders window! Once the refurbishment is complete, we'll send you a photo, invite you to the Academy launch party and you will be more than welcome to join in on one of our half day apiary visits. 


Get Your Name on the Building!!  

 We will commission a plaque with your own name or company name and logo and place it prominently on the refurbished building. This is our way of saying thank you for your generous gift to help us in our quest to establish the Bee Academy.It will be a testament to your desire to save the  honeybee and your support of the NBA bee education and training programme at the Bee Academy. You and your partner will also be honoured guests at the launch of the academy. You will also have pride of place on our supporters page of our website at:




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    Offline donation

Team Members

Malcolm Evans

Annette Evans

Helen Nelson

Joyce Jack

Myriam Baete