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Visiting the bees at Manchester Cathedral

Manchester Cathedral Honey

A few years ago, I heard that someone was keeping bees on top of Manchester Cathedral. This really intrigued me, so I decided to go and say hello! The Cathedral staff told me it was a community project called Volition who looked after the bees and they kindly invited me to visit their beehives. This was an offer I really couldn’t refuse, so popped on my beekeepers suit and went into town…

What I didn’t realise was that Volition was actually a volunteering scheme which helps unemployed people in Manchester to build their confidence, motivation, self-esteem and other skills to get back into work.

Volition partners with many businesses around the city to provide opportunities for the volunteers to get training and up-skill. These skills include cooking, administration, caretaking, events planning and beekeeping. Partners also provide career talks, meeting rooms, legal advice and much, much more.

Bee hives and honey at Manchester Cathedral

But back to the beekeeping. It was surprising to me that beekeeping can help you get a job! (Unless you’re applying to become a beekeeper of course!). But Cath, the head beekeeper, explained…

“If you have never tried beekeeping, as many of the volunteers haven’t, it can be quite scary. Thousands of those bees flying around you at once. But you must be calm - everything a beekeeper does is slow, as you don’t want to frighten the bees. So beekeeping takes you out of your comfort zone, it gives you confidence and it forces you to stay calm under pressure – all great skills for getting back into work!”

On top of that, beekeeping is a great interest to put on your CV – it’s certainly a talking point in an interview!

I absolutely love what Volition is doing. I regularly go in and do talks to the volunteers about entrepreneurship and setting up a small business. This is a path some of the volunteers are keen to explore instead of employment and I really enjoy doing it.

And guess what?! Just Bee might be further strengthening its partnership with Volition – we are currently testing some of their honey (it’s called ‘Heavenly Honey!) in our products. So watch this space!! If you’d like to know more about the great work they are doing, check out  or @MCVolunteerTeam on Twitter.

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