All things digital – Rochdale is perfect platform for festival

Date published: 11 June 2019


Rochdale Digital Festival returned this weekend, with over 650 people visiting Number One Riverside on Saturday and hundreds more taking part in tech workshops on Friday.

The festival, organised by Rochdale Borough Council was aimed at stimulating people’s digital skills with inspirational, hands-on help and advice. 

Visitors were shown how to set up an email account, make video calls, borrow electronic books, shop safely online and how to set up social media pages. Staff from O2 Rochdale let visitors step into the future with a Samsung Virtual Reality headset, as well as demonstrating their cutting edge technology, including making your home ‘smart.’ They also hosted a popular virtual heading game competition!

The FixIt Bar was kept busy, with O2 Rochdale and Hopwood Hall College students providing hands on help for visitors with laptop, iPad, phone or tablet problems.

Around 20 organisations had a presence at the festival, including MadLab, USwitch.com, Bolinda and the NHS showing the latest developments in digital technology and its many applications. Employment Links and Hopwood Hall College, offered advice on digital learning, training and work opportunities.

The Energyworks Green Doctor provided advice on making your home warmer, cutting fuel and water bills, helping people to reduce their carbon footprint through using smart meters.

Anthony Edward from marketing specialists JGM Agency showcased his digital art skills, during demonstrations sharing tips on how to get into the digital advertising industry, creating art live on screen.

New Rochdale start-up business Alternate States owned by Jake White demonstrated the latest in virtual reality experiences, giving visitors the chance to explore a haunted house in full 3D.

Digital artist Victoria Whitaker from Doodlher.com held a live collaborative arts project generating lots of stylish entries from budding artists at the event.

There was also lots of interactive fun and learning for under 18s and families, helping children and young people to learn through play using coding, robots, electronics and making activity using the latest digital kit. 

Heritage Hackers introduced their dinosaur robot before taking part in an augmented reality dinosaur hunt around the festival!  They also hosted lots of child friendly sessions including mindcraft, coding, and scratch (coding for tots).   

The council’s adult care service showcased a range of innovative new assistive technology gadgets, which help increase people’s independence in their homes.

On Friday, digital champions from Lloyds Bank delivered digital knowhow sessions in local schools, showing how digital skills can act as a springboard to jobs in different sectors and the Business Growth Hub hosted business workshops at Touchstones Rochdale focusing on improving your website’s search engine performance, 3D printing and rapid prototyping. 

 

Debbie Monks from the council, Councillor Iftikar Ahmed, Cabinet Member for Adult Care and Deputy Council Leader Daalat Ali
Debbie Monks from the council, Councillor Iftikar Ahmed, Cabinet Member for Adult Care and Deputy Council Leader Daalat Ali

 

Councillor Daalat Ali, deputy council leader and cabinet member for resources at Rochdale Borough Council who attended the festival on Saturday said: “We know how important it is for people to have the right digital skills to get jobs, so this festival also highlighted some of the digital careers and training opportunities available locally as well as introducing hundreds of people to lots of great local digital organisations, so I’m sure it was a beginning of a journey for many.”

During the morning the festival was broadcast live on BBC Radio Manchester with presenter Brad Harris chatting to exhibitors and getting to grips with some of the technology himself.

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