Northern Roots Beekeeping Hub

The Northern Roots Trainee Beekeeping programme is 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.

In March 2020 we appointed Oldham-based beekeeper Catherine Charnock to set up and run the Northern Roots Beekeeping Hub. Cath comes with a wealth of expertise, a passion for engaging and supporting people, and a track record in running beekeeping projects.

Our bees arrived in April 2020 and settled in very happily – with a little help from Cath! The original colony has grown from six to ten hives and all of the hives have produced honey.

During the free year-long programme, Trainees will learn 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 will also explore 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, and with strict social distancing measures in place, our first cohort of Trainee Beekeepers are now two thirds of the way through their programme. You can listen to Rachael Davies, one of our Trainees, in the clip below. As the Trainees work towards becoming fully-fledged Beekeepers, we’ll be sharing more of their stories, so stay tuned!


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 really happy to have been 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

“I’ve always been interested in beekeeping but never had the chance to work with bees first hand, so when I saw the Northern Roots Trainee Beekeeping programme I was really excited!”


Resma Patel, Trainee Beekeeper