The British Beekeepers’ Association (BBKA) and Bucks County
The BBKA is a registered charity which aims to promote and further the craft of beekeeping and advance the education of the public in the importance of bees in the environment. It is comprised of over 60 affiliated beekeeping associations across England, each of whose members thereby become an ‘Indirect’ member of BBKA. At present there are approximately 12,000 such indirect members in three membership categories. The most common is Registered Member – a full-subscription beekeeper who is entitled to the full range of membership benefits. A reduced rate with reduced benefits is available for Partner Members and for Country Members. Membership fees and criteria are obtainable from each local association Treasurer. A small additional subscription funds the Bucks County Association.
These subscriptions, along with a locally agreed subscription fee for membership of the district organisation, are collected at the beginning of that association’s financial year. The capitation fees paid by local associations are the main source of BBKA funds. There are also over 200 Direct Members who normally pay a separate subscription direct to BBKA, as well as some corporate and professional members.
The head office of the BBKA is at the National Agricultural Centre at Stoneleigh in Warwickshire. Contact details for the BBKA are on their web site at www.britishbee.org.uk and those for local associations on our home page. Services organised by the County and local associations include liaison between individual members and BBKA, and activities involving the public, plus educational lectures of interest to beekeepers.
BBKA organisation and services
An Annual Delegates Meeting (ADM) is held every January. Each county association, such as Bucks, can send one delegate. The ADM controls BBKA policy and future activities by voting on motions submitted by member associations, or the BBKA Executive Committee. Your County committee is made up of representatives from each local association and its Executive discusses these motions and advises our delegate on voting decisions.
Public and Product Liability insurance cover is provided for each member of up to £5,000,000. With the increasing risk of litigation, this is appreciated by beekeepers.
BBKA represents beekeepers to DEFRA and the Government at national level and puts your views forward in Europe through the activities of CONBA (the Council of National Beekeeping Associations, incorporating representatives from Scotland, Wales and Ireland).
It has at least two high level meetings with DEFRA annually. It endeavours to influence and advise on proposed legislation, or anything to do with bees and honey.
A number of Standing Committees have special responsibilities such as: Education and Husbandry; Technical; and Publicity and Promotions. BBKA also publishes BBKA News six times each year. This carries news on BBKA activities, advises members on current beekeeping affairs and contains practical advice. BBKA also has an expanding range of leaflets on many useful beekeeping topics, a slide library for use by associations, and other useful services.
In addition to supporting beekeepers, BBKA supports honeybee research. A new Research Fund was established in 1998. It is used to aid the work of various researchers into projects such as varroa control and the virus threat to honeybees. It also supports the National Bee Unit (NBU) in its current work on EFB.