A pop up shop will open in Oldham this week, providing a taster of what will be on offer at the spring launch of the region’s biggest permanent high street makerspace.

Opening on January 14 in Tommyfield Market, the temporary unit will provide demonstration areas where people can create, invent, experiment and discover using a variety of materials and maker equipment. There will also be opportunities for freelancers, sole traders and SMEs to find out more about co-working and desk hire space available.

The pop up shop aims to raise awareness and recruit new members for the launch of a new makerspace and co-working space in the Digital Enterprise Hub that’s due to open on Yorkshire Street in the spring. The new makerspace represents a major expansion of Create Oldham and, alongside the co-working space, will occupy the basement and ground floor of the new Hub. Wayra UK Ltd, a start-up accelerator aiming to drive entrepreneurship across the north, will occupy the top floor.

The founder of Create Oldham, Andy Powell, said the pop up shop aimed to create a buzz ahead of the official spring launch, help people learn new skills and highlight how the makerspace movement had come of age.

“Programmes like BBC 2’s Big Life Fix, which brings together designers, inventers and tech experts to fix life problems have really captured the public’s imagination and show how the makerspace movement is making a difference,” he said.

“The NHS are using create days on a regular basis to drive innovation – and more and more people are becoming aware of the benefits of creatives working collaboratively for educational or social purposes.

“Our guiding principle is to enable people to do things. We want to help people become creators rather than just consumers.”

Offering a mix of fun and serious activities, Powell explained that the makerspace would be a community space for both children and adults.

“Whether it’s creating a radio controlled Dalek, making a 3D printed Ghostbusters proton pack, joining a coding class or attending our digital drop in centre to learn how to fix your PC, there’s something for everyone,” he added. “It’s a collaborative, friendly space and I’d especially encourage any freelancer or small business looking for co-working space to get in touch.”

The new makerspace is supported by Oldham Council and Councillor Jean Stretton, Oldham Council Leader, says that encouraging invention, creativity and resourcefulness is vital to the borough.

“Having a large makerspace on our high street shows how Oldham is embracing technology and creativity to give people the skills and confidence to try new things,” she said.

“We know that makerspaces can help foster grassroots innovation and entrepreneurship and Create Oldham has already given people the tools they need to set up their own businesses. We’re confident that a bigger presence will give more people the opportunity to turn creative business ideas into reality and that’s why the new Digital Hub will be such a great asset to the borough.”


Editor’s notes:

Launch Day

The Tommyfield Market makerspace pop up launches on Saturday 14th January at 10.00am. Launch day will offer a host of activities for all ages and interests to try including:

  • Embroidery demonstrations
  • Electronics
  • Model making
  • 3D Printing
  • Meet Bob the Dalek

…and much more!

The Create Oldham Makerspace internal floor space is 379 square metres.

Digital Enterprise Hub, Oldham

The Digital Enterprise Hub is due to open in spring 2017. Businesses and entrepreneurs will be supported by Wayra UK Ltd, a world leading start up accelerator programme that’s part of Telefonica Open Future, the global corporate entrepreneurship network transforming the world through open innovation.

As well as supporting existing businesses and helping entrepreneurs by providing a co-working space and start up support, the Hub will help people gain skills that enable them to start and grow creative and tech businesses. A key aim of Wayra UK Ltd is to narrow the skills gap in Oldham by encouraging new methods of learning.

The percentage of residents in Oldham with a qualification at Level 4 and above is currently the joint lowest of the Greater Manchester local authorities at 23% and significantly below the national average of 35%.

The Digital Enterprise Hub also aims to address the skills gap in Greater Manchester in digital jobs. One of the key findings of Manchester Digital’s Skills Audit Report in 2015 was that, “as in 2013 and 2014, employers report a large number of hard-to-fill vacancies with technical development being the hardest.”

For more information media contact Frankie Mullen 0777 563 5674 Director,  Dovetail: The Change-Making Agency  [email protected]