The Honey Club Case Study
The Honey Club is a local, social enterprise with a global vision, set up by Wolff Olins, Global Generation (a King's Cross based youth charity) and Urban Bees (committed beekeeping trainers and educators). Together, our aim is to evolve and expand a network of bee-caring communities in urban spaces - from rooftop to garden, hive to street, business to people. We have four beehives - two on our roof and two at Global Generation's skip garden - which provide a home for 200,000 honeybees: a key pollinator in our fragile eco-system and under threat from pesticides, mass urbanisation and diminishing forage.
Built to last
Along with the young people of Global Generation (the 'Generators') we co- created the Honey Club. Eschewing the traditional CSR approach - one-off donations and volunteer days - we wanted to create a model for social impact that was long-term, active and meaningful. The Honey Club membership model enables us to do just that by inviting other local businesses to make a social environmental investment in the area. In the spirit of exchange, members not only give an annual fee but also time, skills and advocacy. In return we hold a series of events and workshops where employees from our member organisations and young people learn new bee-friendly skills, exchange ideas and build community relationships - from cooking to guerilla gardening.
Experimenting as we go
It's been nearly 4 years and it's been quite a journey from the idea sketched out on a piece of paper to see it living and thriving in the world. We've shaped the urban landscape in King's Cross with the inclusion of bee-friendly planting in development plans, set up Bee Lab - where we have been prototyping sensory technology that will enhance the practice of beekeeping, created a portfolio of retail products that enable bee-friendly behaviour, not to mention the confidence and development of the young people involved in the programme day to day. But we're only just getting warmed up. This year we'll be experimenting with different forms of memberships - from individuals and SMEs to schools and families, and seeing how others can adopt our model to set up their own Honey Clubs in other parts of the city or indeed, their own city. World domination imminent…
See www.honeyclub.org for more details.