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A leading city centre business organisation aims to increase biodiversity in the city centre through Urban Bees.

As part of Aberdeen Inspired’s ongoing civic pride campaign and to highlight the importance of pollinators to environmental health of businesses, Italian Buckfast strains of honeybee have been introduced to the city centre.

The Urban Bees project hopes to encourage businesses to engage in environmental issues, to improve understanding and to inspire positive action.

The project will also contribute to Aberdeen Inspired’s 2018 Keep Scotland Beautiful entry, in previous years the organisation has been awarded Silver Gilt as well as being crowned the winner of the BID category in 2016.

Adrian Watson, chief executive officer of Aberdeen Inspired said: “Aberdeen Inspired’s commitment to civic pride in the city centre continues to grow in dynamic ways as we react to environmental changes. Introducing urban bees and beehives to the heart of the city will allow our local businesses and volunteers to engage with biodiversity and work effectively towards improving the spaces we live and work in.

As Aberdeen Inspired strives towards driving the city forward, we endeavour to continue to introduce innovative and significant projects that will see our city centre become one of the most inclusive urban areas in the country. “

Aberdeen City Council contributed to the initiative financially through their Community Food Growing Fund.

Cllr John Wheeler, Convener of the Aberdeen City Council Operational Delivery Committee, said: “We’re proud to support this initiative and look forward to seeing the project thrive in the city centre. As well as creating a great deal of positive interest, there will be tremendous benefits to Aberdeen and the fact it will support our Keep Scotland Beautiful entry is another welcome benefit.

Everyone in the city can take pride in the work that has been done to enhance the environment over the years and schemes like this show Aberdeen continues to improve and innovate.”

There is two hives situated within the Business Improvement District, one of which is located at His Majesty’s Theatre, which can be viewed through the window of their 1906 restaurant and the other is situated at an undisclosed location on George Street.

Aberdeen Performing Arts Head of Business Transformation and Green Team representative, Leon Gray, said: ‘The bees have made themselves at home here at His Majesty’s Theatre over the last few weeks, and we are delighted to provide a haven for them in the city centre.

Supporting biodiversity in the city centre is something we are only too happy to be involved with. Aberdeen Inspired have given Aberdeen Performing Arts a huge amount of support through the Music Hall transformation Project, and it is a pleasure to come together once more for this worthwhile initiative.’

The city centre bee team underwent training with Aberdeen and District Bee Keeping Association and is made up of two service users from Alcohol and Drugs Action (ADA), a representative from Workers Education Alliance and Angela Joss, project manager from Aberdeen Inspired.

As well as having a positive effect on the city centre environment, urban bees also provide a therapeutic benefit for service users of various social inclusion groups, including Alcohol Drugs Action.

Fraser Hoggan, chief executive officer of Alcohol Drugs Action said: “Both participants through regular attendance of Alcohol & Drugs Action’s weekly gardening group were keen to build on their enjoyment and contribution to the group by enhancing their knowledge and experience.

Through our fantastic partnership with Aberdeen Inspired, the opportunity to participate in a bee-keeping course was made available and was eagerly taken up. This has had a significant impact for the individuals in both in terms of growing their confidence through developing desirable new skills, as well as demonstrating recovery community support and commitment to such an environmentally friendly and important project as Urban Bees”.

Aberdeen Inspired is the banner under which the Aberdeen BID operates. It is a business-led initiative within the city centre in which levy payers within the BID zone contribute.

Proceeds are used to fund projects designed to improve the business district. More information about Aberdeen Inspired is available here .