Making Kelham Buzz
As we know, the Kelham Island and Neepsend area is undergoing a seriously impressive rejuvenation – but there’s still a way to go yet. Whilst its industrial charm is the heart and soul of the area, along with all the independent, quirky artisan restaurants, bars, cafés and other businesses that are dotted around, there’s one thing it’s lacking: green space. Exposed spoke to Ben McGarry, chairperson of the Kelham Island Community Alliance (KICA), who wants to help address this and breathe some life into the area.
Words: Rachel Havard
KICA’s primary purpose and ethos is to improve the quality of life for local residents and use the facilities in the area. The Green Kelham Project, Ben tells us, will bring gardens to Kelham to use not only for flowers but to create allotments where people can grow their own fruit and veg. In these 4x2m allotment-sized planters people could grow whatever they wanted for themselves, but some produce will be put towards food banks or community feeding programmes.
“We originally approached Kelham Island Museum to host the planters on their roof,” says Ben. “Director Heather Featherstone was the one who suggested having bees up there. I contacted Sheffield Beekeepers Association, who eventually suggested that the goit by the river would be a better idea so they built it on that. The deck will be discrete, nature-friendly considering the area’s conservation status, and above normal flood levels.”
The idea is to build 6-8 hives on the platform and they have already started a beekeeping course, with the aim of eventually producing Kelham Island honey. And what do you do when life gives you honey? Stick it in a good pint of course!
“Hopefully by July we’ll have hives and then we can start producing honey. Sheffield Brewery got wind of it, dropped us an email and plans are now in motion to make our own special Kelham honey beer.”
A number of teams will look after the planters aiming to brighten up the Island in the larger empty spaces, with old whiskey barrels containing flowers also to be dotted around the area. The Green Kelham gardens project will hopefully see more bees and pollinating insects thriving in the area, leading to healthier plants and crops to enjoy.
So: with more green spaces, growth, bees, honey and beer heading to Kelham Island over the next few months, the summer can’t come soon enough to this neck of the woods!
If you’d like to find out more about the Green Kelham project, head here.