Tyne & Wear

Beekeepers sought by Gateshead young dads project

Beehives in Gateshead Image copyright NEYDL
Image caption The project is adding 15 more hives after the success of its pilot project

A charity training and supporting young fathers is seeking volunteer beekeepers.

The North East Young Dads and Lads Project (NEYDL) has installed the first 100,000 of a million bees in Dunston, Gateshead.

Its members have built hives and started to produce and sell honey.

Project co-founder Kevin Stoodley said they might be unemployed and disadvantaged but they have some "great business acumen and great ideas".

"We see lots of young men who've got lots of hidden talents who may not have achieved academically in school but, actually, they're incredibly creative, incredibly intelligent," he said.

Image copyright NEYDL
Image caption Mark Ridden joined the project as an unemployed young father and is now in work and supporting new members

Young father Mark Ridden has helped manage the first hives in Dunston and shared the profits from sales.

"The honey sold out in a matter of days," he said.

"I'm working full time now but have decided to support the new lads to develop their skills as beekeepers as it's a great project and I just want to see it grow."

NEYDL is now expanding the scheme with 15 more hives across Gateshead and is looking for 20 men aged between 18 and 25, who are not currently in work, education or training.

Image copyright NEYDL
Image caption The young men can sell the honey for about £10-12 a frame, and more if it's in jars

Working with the bees would give them "experience around first aid, around food handling and hygiene, preparing the honey", Mr Stoodley said.

Managing the hives could also lead to other opportunities for business, transforming green spaces and expanding bee colonies.

It also provides a community for isolated young men, he added.

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