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Hoults Yard hosts digital makers party for children

YOUNGSTERS with an interest in technology are invited to a ‘kids’ digital maker party’ at Newcastle’s business village.

The free event has been organised for Sunday, October 1, at Hoults Yard’s Clayshed event space by Dan Pudwell, a senior IT consultant at Opencast Software, a company based at the Yard.

Sponsored by the Reece Foundation, an initiative established in 2007 to promote the region’s engineering and manufacturing sector, the digital maker party will be held between 12noon and 4pm for young people aged between five and 16-year-olds.

“It’s our fourth digital maker party and each one has grown. More than 70 young people attended our last event in July, and we’re hoping our October party will attract more than 100 interested youngsters,” explained Dan, who has also set up 14 coding clubs in schools across Derwentside.

“We have lots of digital and tech activities and as usual, the party will be very interactive. This time we’ll have opportunities to create an app; fun with robotics; Makey Makey’s; programming projects with Scratch, the visual programming language; Raspberry Pi’s; a chance to experience virtual reality and electronics sessions with the people from Edinburgh’s MadLab.

“We’ll have people from Newcastle-based Drone Ops here and they’ll be giving young people a chance to control a drone; and we’ll also have Hoults Yard-based Status Digital with us who’ll be doing sessions on augmented reality.”

All equipment will be provided free, but attendees, who must be accompanied by an adult, are invited to bring their own appropriate IT equipment.

“The parties are for any young person who likes computers, plays on an X-box, uses a smartphone and is interested in how such technology works. But it’s not a classroom environment – the parties are very interactive and great fun. And there will be food and pizzas available from Scream for Pizza,” explained Dan.

“I’d like to thank our sponsors the Reece Foundation, and other companies like Lhasa, Accenture, Go-Ahead and Opencast Software, all of whom have generously provided support or resources.”

Charlie Hoult, owner of Hoults Yard, co-founder of Opencast and Chair of Dynamo, an industry-led initiative focused on growing the region’s tech sector, said the digital maker parties were a great way of engaging young people in the IT sector.

“The Kids Digital Maker Parties are a perfect introduction to the world of tech and digital and because they’re fun and hands-on, they spark the imaginations of young people, giving them the opportunity to think what might be possible with technology.”

Opencast was established in 2012 after co-founder and Managing Director Mike O’Brien left his job with a global digital business to set up the firm in the Kiln Building, Hoults Yard. Four years later, the IT services and business consultancy has grown to a team of 65 experienced software and IT professionals with a turnover of £5m. An expansion in the Opencast workforce led to a move to larger offices at Hoults Yard at the beginning of last year.

To confirm your attendance at the October 1 digital party, log on to

HOSTS… Opencast MD Carl Shovlin and Dan Pudwell

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Hoults Yard .

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