The SW Beekeepers’ Forum was formerly known as the SWCJCC?
The South West Counties Joint Consultative Council (SWCJCC) was formed over forty years ago to consider topical beekeeping issues in the UK. Its members currently represent nine BBKA member associations (around 25% of the BBKA members). Representatives are selected by Avon, Bournemouth and Dorset South, Cornwall, West Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire and Meridian BKAs. There is also a guest list, and regional bee inspectors, past BBKA presidents from this area and some BBKA link trustees are invited to attend. The council members elect a Chairman and Secretary/Treasurer to ensure the smooth running of the Council. Altogether around thirty people attend the meetings which are currently held in an amiable Somerset pub.
The SWCJCC Constitution states:
‘That the objective is to further the interests of beekeepers by consultation between the participating organisations of the South West. It is recognised that the Committee shall have no executive powers. The office of Chairman shall rotate between participating associations. Each participating association shall elect a maximum of three representatives but each association shall have only one vote. Meetings are held twice yearly normally in March and November.’
The November meeting convenes after the BBKA ADM papers have been received, and discusses the budget, nominations and propositions. No-one is mandated from this meeting, but hopefully through the wide-ranging debate the representatives are more aware of the pertinent issues.
Meetings are generally enhanced by inviting a guest speaker to attend to discuss research matters, aspects of beekeeping practice or more political topics.
Looking back at the minute book it is worth reflecting on the reasons for the SWCJCC. The inaugural meeting in 1973 was convened by Somerset BKA and its Chairman, Mr Sawyer, opened proceedings by recounting the circumstances which led to the meeting. For some time Somerset BKA had been very dissatisfied by the quality of services offered to members by the BBKA. At that time 90% of the BBKA income was spent on administration and only l0% on services. There was general agreement by attendees at that meeting that services left a lot to be desired and this was thought to be due both to failure of communication between the BBKA and area associations, and to lack of sufficient money.
The SWCJCC is supportive of the BBKA in its objectives and testament to that are the numerous trustees, chairmen and presidents that have come from this area, but it is not averse to pointing out shortcomings. Correspondence concerning the tone and tenor of the 2014 ADM was sent, in an effort to ensure that future ADMs would be conducted in a more favourable manner to maintain the support of the associations. The SWCJCC is committed to the future of beekeeping and, in partnership with BDI, it has sponsored Ben Jones of the NBU in his PhD studies on honey bee nutrition. In due course the SWCJCC may be in a position to co-fund another project.
With thanks to Ruth Homer, Honorary Secretary/Treasurer SWCJCC, who wrote the original article for BBKA News