At the start of lockdown (March 2020) we began to realise how many people in our local communities (and our towns, counties, country, the UK, and the world), live in lockdown, isolated in their own homes. Not only because of a virus but also because the circumstances of their lives make it so: those with physical and/or mental health problems, older people, younger people, parents, carers and many others. As we began to appreciate the negative impact of social exclusion on those who aren’t able to participate in social and community life, as well as how central Zoom had become across society, we wanted to do something to help. So after many meetings, much guidance and a big leap of faith, Bee Tree was born!
We started with a 6 week trial on 2nd November 2020 with a Zoom based timetable of sessions. Our friends and family, who were not necessarily lonely/isolated, were some of our first members to attend and to host and they also brought with them people they knew would enjoy Bee Tree too. We were able to see which sessions were popular and could gather feedback from all of our trial members with a plan to use that to go ahead and build a full service in 2021. Our trial was so popular that we extended it to include a Christmas/New Year timetable too!
In April 2021, after being missed hugely by our members, we came back with a bang - we'd spent the beginning of the year building our website, networking, promoting, researching and adapting. Bee Tree now had a solid brand and identity and was hosted entirely by our website. We had more hosts, more sessions and more members!
Since then Bee Tree continues to flourish and make a difference to all who are a part of it, regardless of whether they feel lonely or not. It is a well established community that accepts all people who would like to join and continues to offer a space that enables the creativity, learning and connection of our members to really remain central to their experience. We are continually taking on board member suggestions for sessions and for all other parts of our service - Bee Tree really is a service and community developed by them as much as us!
From offering people a creative space to develop their writing, painting, knitting and crafting skills, to a learning space that showcases History, Languages, Cooking and Gardening, to a fun space that always has laughs, chatter, memories and some games to play - Bee Tree remains a space that is flexible and rooted in kindness and connection. For a few of our members it has offered them the social and emotional support they didn't realise they needed to enrich their lives.
It truly is amazing the difference that human beings can make for each other when they are offered the space to try. Thank you each and every one of our hosts, members and friends and family who got Bee Tree to where it is now and continue to support us as we go forwards and see where this wonderful community grows.
Deb and Clare xxx
more socially isolated people
"The bigger we grow,
the more we can develop