Northern Roots Beekeeping Hub
In March 2020 we appointed Oldham-based beekeeper Cath Charnock to help us set up the Northern Roots Beekeeping Hub and deliver a Trainee Beekeeping programme. The Beekeeping programme was one of our first pilot projects, an opportunity for local people and community groups in Oldham to learn about beekeeping and explore it as a business opportunity.
During the free year-long programme, Trainees learned everything from the basics of beekeeping – how to care for a hive, handle bees and collect honey – to, how to breed queen bees and smaller, starter or ‘nucleus’ bee colonies. Trainees also explored beekeeping as a business opportunity, learning how to develop and market bee products, such as honey, candles, lip balm, and wax wraps. Under Cath’s careful supervision, our first cohort of Trainee Beekeepers graduated in 2021.
“I’m really proud of getting to the end of the course and having lots of people who can actually look after bees! They’re a great group and I’ve really enjoyed teaching them.” Cath Charnock, Northern Roots Lead Beekeeper
Trainee Beekeepers have gone on to get hives of their own, are setting up hives at GP surgeries and community allotments, and plan to share their skills with schools and groups across Oldham. Northern Roots bee colonies have doubled, enabling us to sell new colonies on and reinvest funds back into the Beekeeping Hub.
“I wanted to meet people and have fun, whilst learning a new skill – beekeeping – that gives back to our environment and economy. Northern Roots will bring many socio-economic benefits to Oldham in terms of educational opportunities and local growth” Richard Cockcroft, Trainee Beekeeper
We’ve just relocated our bees to Northern Roots, creating the very first Beekeeping Hub on site. Local communities will be encouraged to learn more about our bees, the benefits they bring to the environment, and to understand how honey and other products can be produced. People will be able to observe our beekeepers at work and those wishing to get more involved can find out about opportunities. Our long term aim is to create a central hub for local beekeepers and educational activities.
“Participating in the Northern Roots beekeeping programme has given me fresh air, bees, knowledge, relaxation, new bee keeping friends – and the divine smell circulating around the apiary!” Julie Miller, Trainee Beekeeper
We are taking a small group of current Trainees forward to help them consolidate skills across the next 12 months and we’re developing a range of Beekeeping courses. When we have more details, we’ll share them with you.
Northern Roots honey and bee products
You can buy Northern Roots honey and bee products from the Boathouse Café in Oldham’s award-winning Alexandra Park.
Our friends at Bittersweet in Oldham town centre are also stocking Northern Roots honey and bee products.
And if you’re based in Chadderton, Northern Roots bee products are now stocked by the lovely people at Spice Drive, Oldham’s first zero-waste shop!
All profit goes back into sustaining and developing the Northern Roots Beekeeping Hub.
“From the first time I put on a beekeeper’s suit at Northern Roots and looked into a hive, I knew I wanted my own bees. The care of thousands of living creatures is not something to be taken lightly, but I now have the confidence and skills to do it’”
Carol Albinson, Trainee Beekeeper
“Being in the apiary with the vibration of 50,000 bees is truly magical! And the honey tastes like wild flowers and sunshine!’
Hayley Barker, Trainee Beekeeper, Northern Roots