Bupa UK has teamed up with an artist to create a giant colourful bee to raise awareness of homelessness and mental health issues.
The Bupa Bee is one of the 101 sculptures designed by local professional and emerging artists taking over the streets of Manchester as part of the Bee in the City trail.
Designed and created by Cathy Dawes, it took her 12 days of 12 hour shifts to hand paint the bee.
Wayne Close, General Manager, Bupa UK Health Services, said: “Our heritage in Manchester dates back 70 years over which time we’ve grown to become one of the city’s largest employers so we’re absolutely buzzing that we are an official partner of the Bee in the City trail, and to be working with Cathy.
“We hope people from across Manchester and further afield will follow the trail and that our bee will help increase awareness and support for homelessness and mental health.”
The Bupa Bee has taken pride of place by Bupa’s dental practice in St Ann’s Square.
Speaking about the bee’s design, Cathy said: “My bee design is the Homing Bee based on the homeless, which there is unfortunately a lot around Manchester. I decided to paint lots of different types of housing from apartments, houses, barges, huts and caravans and make them bright colours to make an impact. The wording is to help people stop and think and so are the images of homeless people.
"My studio is based in Stubbylee Community Greenhouses in Bacup. It is a local charity helping people with mental health through working together in the greenhouses; growing plants and vegetables, joinery workshops, metal forging, painting, counselling and being there for each other. Quite a few of the service users have been homeless due to their mental health.
“I am so happy and grateful to Bupa for giving me this opportunity to showcase my artwork as well as hopefully making an impact on people’s lives.”
The city’s bee emblem has symbolised the industrious, creative and energetic spirit of Manchester and its people for more than 150 years, and this summer it has had a colourful makeover for the art trail which will run from 23 July to 23 September. The bees will then be auctioned off in aid of the We Love MCR charity.
The trail also includes bees in honour of some of Manchester’s famous names including Manchester United, Manchester City and Coronation Street.