We are delighted to announce that the Hive Café and Bakery has won Gold at the national 2020 VisitEngland Awards. During an online ceremony, the Hive claimed the top prize in the Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism category, recognising tourism businesses committed to being sustainable, responsible and ethical in how they operate and interact with customers, the wider community and the environment.

The Hive, which is part of the Ruskin Mill Trust family, a nation-wide educational charity that runs schools and colleges for children and young people with complex needs, is housed in the New Standard Works building in what was once a jewellery factory, but since its redevelopment it now has a vegetarian organic café, craft workshops, exhibition and event spaces alongside its highly acclaimed food.

Suzanne Carter, The Hive's Community Outreach & Learning Manager at Ruskin Mill Land Trust said following the win:

“This award for the Hive Café and Bakery means so much to all of us who work at The Hive and at Ruskin Mill Trust.  It was really unexpected to get the gold award, but then what we do here is pretty unique.”

This unique approach is evident throughout, with both the café and bakery serving as a social enterprise for the students at Argent College and housed in the same building. Taking part in a food cycle that sees them grow biodynamic fruit and vegetables on the rooftop garden of the New Standard Works and compost food waste back onto the farm.

“The hard work the staff and students put into the roof top farm just above us means that we are able to serve a fresh and seasonal organic menu, where the ingredients are delivered with student footprints rather than carbon ones!” adds Suzanne.

Providing social opportunities through an inclusive craft programme along with its position as a valuable social enterprise to the students of Argent College, the Hive is a unique part of the local community and proud of its historic links to Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter.

Far from resting on their laurels, the teams at the Hive, including in the award-winning Café and Bakery are busy planning for when they re-open in mid-September. Describing their enthusiasm for the coming months, Suzanne said

 “We are working up our plans for reopening mid-September with a renewed sense of enthusiasm and purpose, thanks to this wonderful Visit England award. We cannot wait to start feeding people again and we will be welcoming visitors to a new exhibition in the Gallery and events for Birmingham Heritage Week, including a Facebook LIVE with our Horticulture Tutor Gary Smith where you’ll get to explore our rooftop from your own home. I’m sure we’ll mention our award once or twice too!”