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How birds and bugs are helping raise money for hospice

29 April 2024 CHSW Fundraising

A retired lecturer who found himself with time on his hands has kept himself busy building birdboxes – and they are ‘flying’ off the shelves.

Steve Kerner, 80, from Cromhall, South Gloucestershire, started his hobby building bird boxes in the workshop at his home 18 months ago, with all the proceeds going to Children’s Hospice South West (CHSW).

Steve sells the birdboxes at craft fairs as well as his village community shop and they are now also stocked at the CHSW shop in Yate.

So far Steve’s handiwork has raised an incredible £2000 for CHSW.

“I’ve always enjoyed watching birds in the garden,” said Steve, “and I used to put out feeders and the like to encourage them in.

I found I had some time on my hands once I had retired and I had always enjoyed carpentry, so I thought I would put my skills to good use.

After selling the first of his bird boxes, Steve decided he wanted to donate the proceeds from them to charity – and chose Children’s Hospice South West.

“The first lot literally flew out of the door,” he laughed.

The bird boxes, which come with either a wooden or slate roof, have been a real hit, with stocks of them at the Yate CHSW charity shop being snapped up within days of going on display.

“My best sale yet was at a Christmas market in Thornbury last year,” said Steve.

“I had made a large amount of stock and sold everything apart from three boxes.”

Steve saw for himself the work of CHSW when he visited Charlton Farm in Wraxall last year.

The place is just phenomenal. The care that is provided along with the facilities for children and families just blew my mind.

“It enthused me even further to keep building the bird boxes and raise funds for this incredible charity.”

The bird boxes are either flat roofed, open fronted - preferred by robins, wrens and similar, or ridged, pitch roofed, with a small entry hole to the front - preferred by various tits and finches.

All boxes are roofed in either treated timber (currently priced at £10) or natural slate (currently priced at £15).

Steve has now also diversified his range and is also making bug houses, which are proving equally as popular.

“I love making the bird and bug houses,” he said. “And what makes it more special is knowing that the money is going to help an incredible charity.”

CHSW area fundraiser Amanda Leonard said: “It has been a pleasure meeting and getting to know Steve, his bird boxes are truly wonderful and we even have 2 at Charlton Farm. 

“We are so very grateful that Steve dedicates his spare time supporting Childrens Hospice South West doing something he loves in making these beautiful bird boxes that bring joy to any garden whilst raising money along the way.”