A PROJECT that inspired and supported budding beekeepers across Teesside is coming to an end.

The Bee Friend initiative, which launched in Middlesbrough in 2011, promoted the art of beekeeping among the town’s allotment holders and gardeners in order to attract more bees and pollinating insects to local vegetable patches, allotments and orchards.

A lottery grant of £10,000, which helped to train and equip prospective beekeepers, saw the establishment of hives at several allotments and at Stewart Park.

Further funding from Middlesbrough Council and the Cooperative Community Fund led to the creation of the town’s first school hive at Hemlington Hall Primary.

More than 100 people in the area are now trained in beekeeping thanks to the project, which was led by Catherine Boyle from the Middlesbrough Environment City group.

Ms Boyle said: “A great many people have come away from it with skills and experience they might not otherwise have had, and as a result many have continued to keep bees in their own gardens, allotments and community centres.”

Although the project is drawing to a close, the interest generated as a result means that school workshops and an introductory beekeeping course will continue to be run and delivered by the Middlesbrough Environment City group.

For more information about beekeeping training, contact 01642 243183.