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May 1, 2012

Social Innovator of the Week: The Honey Club

This week I want to draw your attention not to one social innovator, but a whole bunch of them! I was lucky enough to meet the inspirational folks of The Honey Club at the TEDxCSM conference earlier this month, and now it’s time to tell you all about how they plan to change the world – using bees!

via The Honey Club

Born out of a desire to save the world’s bees (which, if you didn’t know, are facing extinction), The Honey Club was founded in 2011 with the mission to create the biggest bee-friendly community in the world, starting with their local community in Kings Cross, North London.

The Honey Club is run by a joint team between Wolff Olins and youth empowerment programme Global Generation, who involve young people in the project (the ‘Generators’). In the months since its founding, The Honey Club now has 100,000 Western honeybees living in two beehives on the Wolff Olins roof garden

The Generators are aged between 14 and 19 years and either live on or around the edges of Kings Cross development site. They are all motivated young people, wanting to step up to their unique role in creating a new future. It is this active participation with the local community that has made The Honey Club such a success, and the Generators have been involved in every stage of the project, including:

  • Co-creation of the Honey Club concept
  • Pitching to corporate members
  • Hands-on beekeeping
  • Planning and hosting events for members

The Honey Club has also partnered with local businesses in order to promote sustainable bee-keeping, and members include The Guardian, OMD and the Eurostar. By working together with local communities and businesses, The Honey Club has made a real contribution to the area both environmentally (by helping the bees) and socially (by building relationships that transcend the boundaries of age and social circumstance) – which is an amazing achievement

‘Impact through action (not words) is key to the Honey Club’s mission,’ says Honey Club leader Yelena Ford, ‘And we’re keeping busy….!’

via The Honey Club

According to Yelena, The Honey Club is all about creating opportunities to save bees, learn more and give back to the community as a whole. A philosophy that is summed up nicely by Jihaan (a 15-year-old Generator):

 ‘In the beginning I was really shy to work with adults because they seemed very smart and confident compared to me, and now we are on the same level ….I also never imagined I would be literally working with bees… When I started I was really scared, I was always in the corner and now the bees can be around me and I don’t move. … One day if I have children I know I will be able to back them up and encourage them not to be scared of insects …  not to be afraid of the world.’

Are you inspired by The Honey Club’s goal to create the world’s largest bee-friendly environment using the power of their local community? Do you know a social innovator or an amazing project that you think we should be highlighting? Then drop us a line @Nokia_Connects and let us know!