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Hungry for PC know-how? Get a slice of Raspberry Pi

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: August 09, 2012

Marcus Hitchins, left, and David Monks use the £25 Raspberry Pi computer.

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A COMPUTER hub for design experts and technology-phobes has launched in west Cornwall.

Open Shed has established a space for people to come together to learn about all things computers.

The social enterprise, known as a 'hackspace', is also open to the likes of self-employed designers.

David Monks, co-founder of the venue with Marcus Hitchins, said: "There is a real community of hackspaces around the country but it is very unusual to open one in a market town like Penzance; they are usually found in university towns,"

"But Penzance is very eclectic, we have got a lot of creative people here."

Open Shed has taken over a building in Champions Yard, Causewayhead. Renting the former storage space from the Savoy Cinema, the team has also added a café area to the space and have more ideas for the future.

A number of courses including how to build computers are all set to be rolled out at Open Shed with the aim of improving access to and giving people a more rounded idea of how to use the technology.

"I have seen a lot of the adult IT education and felt it to not be entirely satisfactory," said Mr Monks, who has years of experience within the industry.

The team is gearing up for its first event, called a Raspberry Jam, to be held later this month. The event will see visitors get to grips with a Raspberry Pi, a credit-card sized computer that plugs into a TV and keyboard and can be used like a standard PC. The aim of the mini-computer, and the event, is to encourage more people to learn about the inner workings of the machines while getting to grips with programming.

Mr Monks said there were also plans to hold build your own computer lessons and he is appealing for anyone with old and unused machines to get in touch.

"We will have boxes of parts and people can pick up the components, build the computer and take it away, all for a small fee," he said, adding that he also hopes to run courses looking at how to build a mobile phone application.

Along with local people, the global online community is also being encouraged to help support the launch of the fledgling group.

By logging on to www.sponsume.com and donating £5, a person will get a thank you on the Open Shed website, for £10 their name will be written on one of the organisation's walls in Penzance and for £50 they become a member of the group.

The Raspberry Jam is due to be held on Wednesday, August 15, from 2pm to 9pm.

For more information about Open Shed, visit www.openshed.org

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