Always Bee You
Always Bee You CIC is a community enterprise, supported by Community Catalyst Sara and based in Ware, Hertfordshire. It provides social activities, training for work and a popular supper club predominantly for adults with learning disabilities but open to anyone who wants to join. The aim of Always Bee You is to connect people, through shared interests and activities in order to combat isolation and loneliness.
The Bee Social Club includes activities chosen by group members such as yoga, clubbercise, belly dancing, crafts, karaoke, film nights, gardening, themed evenings and much more. Staff and a dedicated group of volunteers offer people lifts to the venue, friendly chatter, undertake bar duties and give a helping hand with activities. The group is growing with friendships developing outside the club and several people finding love.
Then there was Covid-19
When Covid hit Always Bee You had to close temporarily due to social distancing requirements. Group members started calling, bored, lonely and missing their friends. Staff and volunteers called people every week, tried connecting through tech but wanted to do more. Bee Busy Stay at Home kits were born.
Queen Bee (founder Jo) and Nanny Pat (her supportive Mum) set to making the Bee Busy kits. Singing sessions are popular so they decided to include sheets of songs to learn, along with easy read recipes, quizzes, word searches and a personal letter. Friends and family contributed to the cost of the kits (the enterprise was unable to claim Government funding as they hadn’t been trading long enough). ‘Nanny Pat’ is 84 and a valued volunteer who found kit making a great way of spending her time during lockdown ‘it makes me feel like I am doing something useful’. Always Bee You are sending out more than 25 kits a week
What a lovely thought the little package for Jenny. She was so thrilled with it we had to sing the Toy Story Song straight away. Thanks so much.
I loved my parcel, it made me cry I was so happy you remembered me.
I just want to say a big thanks for your kind letter and I will try a new recipe that you’re making, cake looks really tasty. I really appreciate it.
June 2022 update – a growing community enterprise
Jo talks about growing her community enterprise offering creative and tailored opportunities for local people with learning disabilities and the help she got from Community Catalysts to grow: