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Founder of The Golden Company nominated as unsung Hackney hero

PUBLISHED: 17:49 22 May 2013 | UPDATED: 17:56 22 May 2013

Zoe Palmer from The Golden Co, photo credit Eric Tourneret

Zoe Palmer from The Golden Co, photo credit Eric Tourneret

Eric TOURNERET

The inspirational woman who came up with a vision of a bee-keeping social enterprise The Golden Company to help disenfranchised young people has been nominated as an unsung local hero.

Zoe Palmer was put forward for the award run by national newspaper, the Observer, by the very young people she set out to empower five years ago when she set up The Golden Company.

Impressed by the relaxed and calm attitude of beekeepers in Albania where she had been filming for National Geographic, she was inspired that bee keeping would be a holistic way to give teenagers confidence, life skills and a connection with nature, with a vision they could then go on to set up their own projects and businesses.

The social enterprise, which trains “socially disadvantaged” young people in urban beekeeping, permaculture, carpentry, cosmetics-making, and life-skills has since gone from strength to strength.

Since its humble beginnings with three teaching hives in St Mary’s Secret Garden, just behind the Geffrye Museum in Kingsland Road, the recruits now man a monthly stall on Borough Market and tend to hives on the top of several global banks in the City.

Co-director of The Golden Company, Gustavo Montes De Oca, said Zoe is a real inspiration in the way she works really hard making life better for so many people in so many different ways.

“She’s always connecting people, whether it’s through nature or bringing joy through songs or on a personal level,” he said.

“The young people always come back and look forward to seeing her, they feel really comfortable in her presence and get the feeling she’s really doing it for them.”

Voting closes on Friday May 24, to vote to go http://www.guardian.co.uk/observer-ethical-awards/unsung-local-hero-vote-now.

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