Northern Roots Beekeeping Hub

The Northern Roots Trainee Beekeeping programme is now open for applications from individuals or community groups based in Oldham.

Northern Roots is creating the UK’s largest urban farm and eco-park in the heart of Oldham.  One of the first pilot projects is the Northern Roots Trainee Beekeeping programme, an opportunity for local people and community groups in Oldham to learn about beekeeping and explore it as a business opportunity.

The project will be led by local beekeeper Cath Charnock, who comes with a wealth of expertise, a passion for engaging and supporting people, and a track record in running beekeeping projects.

‘I’m very excited about being awarded the Northern Roots Beekeeping Hub contract, meeting community groups, teaching people about bees. Everything about bees is good. They’re good for the environment, pollinating the flowers in our gardens and the food on our tables – amazing little creatures just buzzing around doing their jobs’ Cath Charnock, Northern Roots Beekeeper

The Northern Roots Trainee Beekeeping programme is based at Alexandra Park Depot on Kings Road, will run for 11 months, and is free to participants.

During the programme you will:

  • Care for a hive, learn how to handle bees and collect honey, and learn how to breed queen bees and smaller, starter or ‘nucleus’ bee colonies.
  • Explore Beekeeping as a business opportunity and develop bee products to sell under the Northern Roots brand, e.g. honey, candles, lip balm, and wax wraps.
  • Benefit from a small share of any profits made on products you help create and market.
  • Enjoy the health and wellbeing benefits of working with bees e.g. mindfulness, stress reduction, connecting with nature, developing confidence and life skills.

Apply Now!

We have 20 places available for Trainee Beekeepers.  No prior experience of beekeeping is necessary. To be eligible you need to live or work in the borough of Oldham. Please read our guidance information for more detail:

If you’re applying as an individual, apply here:

If you’re applying as a group, apply here:

The deadline for applications is Friday 26th June.

Contact:  Applications and any further questions not contained in the guidance document should be addressed to:


The Northern Roots Beekeeping Hub has been made possible by funding from the Northern Roots Food Enterprise Fund.  This fund was established as a result of Oldham Council working with partners throughout the EU on the Food Chains 4 EU project, which is funded through the INTERREG Europe program.

FoodChains 4 Europe is a European project that is investigating how regional food chains can be made more sustainable. Oldham Council have partnered with organisations from 4 other European regions – Flevoland (NL), Plovdiv/Sofia (BG), Emilia-Romagna (IT), and Maramures (RO) –  and Manchester Metropolitan University, to develop innovation that contributes to the environmental sustainability of food chains, and will work in partnership with research organisations and food sector businesses to implement beneficial changes.

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My passion for bees began when I stood under a pear tree and held a box for the guy next door when he collected a swarm; it was fascinating. Some years later I took up the hobby with my son and it has now turned into an obsession! I’m very excited about being awarded the Beekeeping Hub contract. Beekeeping has been life changing for my son and me.  Hopefully we can repay that and change a few more lives along the way

Cath Charnock, Northern Roots Beekeeper

The bee is the wisest and cleverest of all animals and the closest to man in intelligence; its work is truly divine and of the greatest use to mankind

Geoponika, 10th century Byzantine text on agriculture