The population of pollinating bees is falling – not just honey bees but also the indigenous species such as the red mason bee. They all play a vital role in farming, supporting the environment and simply making our gardens grow. Praise Bee is a brilliant charity based in Shrewsbury that supports the mason bee in particular. From creating nests to breeding bees with the aim of repopulating sites, this charity is as busy as the bee it supports.

To help Praise Bee, we have awarded it a £630.00 micro sponsorship to promote a fund raising and awareness event held in Shrewsbury in the Summer. Our sausages will be sizzling away on a charity bbq to help attract and encourage locals to support this important cause.

Viv Marsh from Praise Bee commented. "The red mason bee does not make honey, so it is not aggressive and has no reason to sting. But it plays a vital role in pollination. We work in two ways, creating a breeding population of bees then finding new homes for them. We work with the Church of England, the NHS, the Royal Air Force and local schools inviting them to provide a new base for our bees to live. We will be using debbie&andrew's award to advertise our fund raising activity, generating money to create new bee's nests and to buy seeds to create bee-friendly habitats around Shrewsbury. This award is the real 'bees knees' for us!".

The micro sponsorship also has another important role to play, acting as a pilot project which Bee Praise hopes will attract others to support its cause. The charity also works with schools to educate pupils about the importance of bees and how to protect them. The Bee Praise re-population programme is also contributing to an important research project undertaken by Harper Adams University, investigating how to secure the future for these important insects.

Ian Bagnall from debbie&andrew's commented. "We aim to bring A Real Taste of the Country to life through our micro sponsorships, and what could be more part of country life than the buzzing of bees as they forage for nectar and pollen. It is amazing what a big difference such as small thing can make. Rather like our micro sponsorships which seek to support small grass roots fundraisers who make such a big difference to the communities they support. We are delighted to be working with Praise Bee and look forward to learning a lot more about mason bees!"

We are looking for other local, grass roots fundraisers for whom even a small injection of support can make a significant difference. The micro sponsorships are available to any fund raising activity that supports local communities or which shares or promotes countryside skills, crafts, values or ideas. For more information, click here.

Photo by Penny Frith