A community beekeeping project is celebrating after securing vital funding.
Middlesbrough’s Bee Friend beekeeping project has been awarded a further grant of £1,442 from the Co-operative Community Fund.
The money will be used to create two more community apiaries, taking the number of Middlesbrough’s Bee Friend beekeeping sites to six and enabling four new beekeepers to take up the hobby.
Four apiaries were established in 2011 at Stewart Park and the Whitehouse, Saltersgill and Town Farm community allotment sites in a project co-ordinated by Middlesbrough Environment City in partnership with Middlesbrough Council and the Cleveland Beekeepers’ Association.
Under the pioneering initiative 37 people received beekeeping training and by the end of the year a harvest of 10lbs of honey had been collected.
Bee Friend is a year long project to promote and protect Middlesbrough’s urban bee population.
The project received an initial grant of £9,996 from the Big Lottery Local Food scheme and received a subsequent award from Middlesbrough’s Healthy Town programme. A further programme of beekeeping training will take place in spring 2012 before the project draws to an end.
Catherine Boyle, Grown in Middlesbrough Project Co-ordinator for Middlesbrough Environment City, said: “I’m thrilled to receive this additional bonus.
“The Bee Friend project has been a huge success and the award allows us to leave a little more of a legacy for the future of Middlesbrough’s bees.
“It shows a real commitment on the part of the Co-operative to ensure a sustainable food future by supporting local production.”
The Co-operative Community Fund is created by members of The Co-operative Group who elect to donate all, or part of their twice-yearly dividend payments directly to the scheme. The funds are then shared with local community projects and groups, such as the Bee Friend beekeeping project, across the country.
Chris Forrest from The Co-operative Group’s North Membership Committee said: “Because our members own the business, they get a share in any of the profits we make.
“It’s a scheme we’re very proud of, not only because it gives us the chance to thank members for shopping with us, but because so many people choose to give something back to local communities.”
For more information on the initiative, contact Catherine at Middlesbrough Environment City on 01642 811300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org