I thought it was about time I gave people an update as I’m getting asked questions left right and centre, and at times feel as though I’m letting people down because I’ve not been able to give straight answers.
I started Hack Oldham almost 2 years ago, and when it started it was just an interesting side project, to create a space that my friends and I, along with our families could get together to share resources and skills.
Like many people, I was surprised by how it took off and how many people wanted to take part in the activities. Over time we developed a relationship with the Oldham Council and started to work towards opening the Digital Enterprise Hub in the town centre, sharing the former Wahoo bar with Open Future_North.
To meet the councils’ requirements, we had to jump through a number of hoops, from changing the form of the company, writing a new constitution, and producing a 70+ page business plan. It became apparent with the amount of work involved that eventually I would have to give up my role with Caffeinated Projects and focus full time on Hack Oldham so I devised a plan, that would allow me to run down my role and move full time to the hackspace at the appropriate time.
As you probably know, from last years publicity, we were working towards an opening date in November. Clearly this didn’t happen however the why’s and wherefores for the building work are not relevant to this post. What is relevant is a meeting that had been held a couple of months earlier between myself and the council, the purpose of which was to assist with our business plan so that we would be able to sign the lease on the building.
At this meeting the conflict of interest between my role in the Hackspace and my employment with Caffeinated Projects was raised as an issue that would prevent the council issuing a lease and I confirmed that my intention was always to step down before taking on the full-time role running the space.
This seemed to be acceptable to all, and with only two months to go before we were due to take control of the premises from Caffeinated Projects and set the ball rolling which would see me leave my employment and allow me to focus fully on developing the Hackspace and its community.
That was 6 months ago, and we still have no lease and no building. Obviously, this puts me in a difficult position
It’s now been 6 months since I was in employment, what little funding we had has run out, and without a lease I’m not able to apply for more. Our intention was never to be grant funded, however without the building we’re unable to generate an income.
While I’m fully committed to the hackspace, and its community… commitment doesn’t pay the bills