IT was a chance to hack into the inner workings of Oldham’s new town centre Digital Hub.

Professional Oldham staged its networking event at the Yorkshire Street venue which opened last year in the former Wahoo nightclub.

The hub - part of £1m Oldham Council investment to help smaller businesses develop in the Independent Quarter - is home to a number of exciting tech projects, firms and start-ups.

And Professional Oldham guests were given an intriguing behind the scenes tour of one of them, Hack Oldham - a community owned and operated project which is rapidly drawing in all ages for hand-ons opportunities to take part in a raft of craft, technology and workshop skills.

Founded in 2015 Hack Oldham fosters an open-door policy to studio space, desk areas and workshops.

Its facilities include offices and training space, Wi-fi, reprographics, craft and woodworking workshops, 3D printing, an electronics laboratory, a workshop and even a micro-brewery.

During office hours, the ground floor is open to residents who pay a fixed monthly fee or visitors who can rent desk or studio space on an hourly or daily basis.

Professional Oldham volunteer Bridget Batty, of Limetree PR, welcomed guests and introduced Andy Powell, one of the Hack Oldham founders.

Bridget said: “Hack Oldham has very humble beginnings but has developed into a fantastic organisation. Its whole concept is very inspirational. I’ve got to know Andy in recent times and really admire what’s being developed here.”

Andy, who runs his own web business called Caffeinated Projects, explained the background to the group, which was originally based in nearby Hardcastle Street.

“We offer a wide range of activities through the day and evening,” he said.

“Most of us have day-jobs and help Hack Oldham in our spare time. We offer activities for both adults and children, from computer coding classes to crafts, textiles and games. These provide people with education, new skills, social opportunities and fun.”

Hack member Tony Goacher, from Uppermill, demonstrated a range of electronic devices to guests.

He said: “One of the great things about Hack Oldham is it has a good mix of men and women, and is very family-friendly. We run workshops on all kinds of things, from learning to programme to making mosaics. We try to make it fun, let people meet each other and teach new skills. That’s our ethos.”

Another member Nathan Hickling, from Hollinwood, demonstrated a full-size remote-controlled Dalek, nick-named Bob, which has been built by members and is constantly being modified.

Catering for the night came from volunteers from Real Junk Food, which uses fresh surplus food from supermarkets. Volunteers Nikki Davies and Daisy Cowley told how Real Junk Food is linked to Incredible Futures Oldham, a social enterprise which was helped with workspace needs by Hack Oldham.

Since its foundation, Incredible Futures has grown to currently provide employment for 10 people.

Professional Oldham is a not-for-profit group providing quarterly business networking-social events, led by its steering group volunteers Suzanne Wright of Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers, Bridget Batty of Limetree PR, Stephanie Doherty and Helan Graham, from Caremark Oldham, Angela Higham from Dr Kershaw’s Hospice and Robbie MacDonald from Cornerstone Design and Marketing.