A COMMUNITY bee-keeping project taking place in Middlesbrough is celebrating after success in a national awards scheme.

The Bee Friend project, run by Middlesbrough Environment City (MEC), scooped the small grants award at the annual Local Food Awards.

The project began in 2011 through a partnership of MEC, Middlesbrough Council and Cleveland Beekeepers’ Association with a grant of almost £10,000 from Local Food.

The money was given to deliver training and increase bee-keeping and honey production skills among community food growers in Middlesbrough.

Catherine Howell, project officer at MEC, said: “We’re really pleased that Local Food has acknowledged the achievements of the Bee Friend project and of the importance of beekeeping to community food growing in the town.

“It’s a big step forward to be nationally recognised and to be able to pass what we’ve learnt to other areas in the UK.”

The Local Food Awards are an opportunity to recognise, reward and celebrate some of the hundreds of community projects that Local Food has funded since the programme opened in 2008.

Councillor Julia Rostron, chairwoman of MEC, said: “The Bee Friend project has been a great success and this award is a hugely deserved accolade for all involved.”