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£500k raised and 7 jobs created in Nairn by local community and environmental charity Green Hive

Green Hive is coming out of the pandemic on a strong footing with nearly £500k worth of grant funding, donations, and trading income having been generated since it was first formed just a few years ago. This along with 7 members of staff and 2 new posts to be created this autumn is seeing this charity bring local people together to improve green spaces around Nairn.

Green Hive’s philosophy is that if the people of Nairnshire and the local environment are thriving then the charity is succeeding. Since the organisation was founded in 2015 over 10% of the population of Nairn have volunteered at one of the many activities and events from beach cleaning, plastic workshops, and invasive species clearing to fabrics workshops and growing food. Green Hive is positively impacting the people and the environment to ensure that it can make an impact locally on environmental change.

In one short period of six months as lockdown eased Green Hive welcomed over 740 visitors through the doors of its workshop alone and volunteers gave over 336 hours of their time to recycling and repurposing discarded plastics and textiles. Their efforts diverted 5,700 kgs of waste from landfill, all the while reducing waste, protecting the environment, learning new practical skills, and growing in self-confidence.

Green Hive’s volunteers say they feel welcomed and supported. For many, volunteering also brings companionship and a genuine sense of well-being. This has all led to the charity being awarded the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service.

Green Hive is now about to embark on a £1.5m project to regenerate Seaman’s Victoria Hall in the Fishertown. The aim is to create a community & environmental sustainability hub that embraces the heritage of the Fishertown while providing a supportive space to bring people together and reduce isolation. It will also offer space for learning and skills development, retail space to support upcycled products made in the Green Hive workshop, support for micro businesses to trial retailing of their eco products and provide a way for locals and visitors alike to take up more active travel, using Green Hive’s e-bike hire and activities offered by partner organisations.

Simon Noble, Chair, Green Hive comments “It has been immensely rewarding to see Green Hive grow, create so many volunteering opportunities, employment for so many and help local people make a difference to their own environment. The ambition to create a community hub is something I recall being discussed at our earliest meetings in 2016 and the plans we now have in hand will allow us to exceed that first vision. The joy is that so many people support that vision. We are excited to be getting started on regenerating the Hall, which in 1890 was described as ‘a centre of good [for] the whole town’.”

Green Hive has a committed board of 9 trustees to steer and develop the charity and take the Seaman’s Victoria Hall project forward. With two of the newest trustees born and brought up in Fishertown the Board has an average of 24 years per member associated with the community of Nairn. The Hall project will be developed over the next 2 years with full development completed in 2025.

Green Hive works with public agencies, third sector organisations and the business sector. The charity always welcomes support from businesses, which can be provided in a variety of ways: team beach cleans and staff volunteering, activity days, financial donations and providing funding for specific projects or staff time to support them. Green Hive is always open to hearing how businesses may have individual ideas to support the charity.

In the summer of 2022 Green Hive took on a large commercial contract to build recycled plastic benches and raised beds for Inverness Botanic gardens. This gave the volunteers a large scale project to work on at the workshop and enabled them to be on site for the installation of the benches and beds. This project gave the charity unrestricted trading income as well as new skills for the volunteers while making a positive contribution to the space at Inverness Botanic Gardens.

Green Hive’s commitment to volunteers is providing employability skills and opportunities to get involved in making a positive impact in their local community.

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