50 years ago in 1971, City of Sydney Alderman Joan Pilone was instrumental in establishing what was originally a Seniors Activity Centre in the Queen Victoria Building. There, at the aptly named “Beehive Industries”, pensioners were able to gather and engage in co-operative work to supplement their income.
Fast forward to 2021, and Beehive Industries has grown into a thriving social enterprise. At its core, Beehive Industries seeks to combat social isolation faced by vulnerable people such as seniors, people with a disability, and the long term unemployed. By providing voluntary work activity, English as second language classes, and free breakfast , morning tea and lunches ; Beehive Industries has created a safe space for its “Beehivers” creating a sense of purpose and connectedness in their community.
On Friday 26 March 2021, Beehive went all out to celebrate 50 years. With our special guest, the City of Sydney Deputy Lord Mayor Jess Scully in attendance, further solidifying Beehive’s strong and continued relationship with the City of Sydney. The Deputy Lord Mayor noted Beehive’s work model of providing work activities and continued education for Sydney’s pensioner community, and applauded the values of respect, multiculturalism, and diversity amongst the Beehivers.
Beehive was also privileged to celebrate the day with its dedicated Board and some of its major corporate customers and supporters (Telstra, Racing NSW, KPMG, Konica Minolta, Sydney Legacy, Woolworths and United Way to name a few!), with Senior Board Member Andrea Plawutsky hosting as MC.
As the guests of honor, Beehivers were indulged with a celebratory lunch, a raffle, and were treated to the magical entertainment of Neo the Magician. The day was wrapped up with City of Sydney Deputy Lord Major Jess Scully, CEO Brendan Lonergan and Beehive industries board chair Gerry Johnston cutting into a sumptuous birthday cake made by resident Beehive chef, Linda Westacott.
Overall, the festivities provided a time to reflect and celebrate Beehive Industries’ achievements, growing from a small room in the Queen Victoria Building to a Leisure Centre with modern social enterprise and procurement facilities, as well as a large-scale commercial kitchen and dining area. Beehive Industries, its sponsors, and the City of Sydney will continue to advocate for the socially isolated, demonstrating that social enterprise is not only beneficial for the vulnerable in our community, but are an asset to business as well.
Please see our new 50th anniversary history book on the Our History page.