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All things digital – Rochdale is perfect platform for festival

11 June 2019

People at Rochdale Digital Festival.

Rochdale Digital Festival returned with over 650 people visiting Number One Riverside on Saturday, 8 June 2019 and hundreds more taking part in tech workshops on Friday, 7 June 2019.

Our festival, now in its 4th year, 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.

O2 guru demonstration.

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,, 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.

Adult care display.

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.

Rochdale Digital Festival volunteers.

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 held an Instagram #DrawThisInYourStyle live collaborative arts project generating lots of stylish entries from budding artists at the event.

'Digital skills'

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.

NHS display.

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).

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

On Friday, 7 June 2019, 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.

Activity at Rochdale Digital Festival.

Councillor Daalat Ali, deputy council leader and cabinet member for resources who attended the festival on Saturday, 8 June 2019, 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.”

Girl on VR headset.

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.

If you missed the festival, it’s not too late to get help with digital technology. Just visit any local library.