The Leeds Hackspace Story So Far…

We’re starting to get more visitors here on the site and one recently asked “What LHS is doing; what projects it has worked on and would it really benefit me to become a member.”

In case there are others who have just discovered Leeds Hackspace or are uncertain what the group does, here is my attempt to recap the LHS story to date:

LHS has been running for two years and is a group aiming to provide Leeds with a permanent not-for-profit hackspace. If you’re unsure about what to expect form hackspaces in general, http://hackerspaces.org/wiki/Hackerspaces is a great introduction to them.

To briefly summarise LHS’s current position we aim to run socials and workshops while we raise funds for a new space, these are detailed on the calendar viewable on the Upcoming Events tab at the top of the page. While we’re without our own space these events include regular social nights in the city centre on an evening, occasional workshops on themes our members are interested in and occasional weekend trips to geeky places. Anyone is welcome to join us, there’s sometimes a small charge for the workshops to cover venue or kit used on the day. In the past we’ve done visits to steam railways, locking picking for beginners, arduino for dummies etc. We’ll happily consider new ideas from interested folks as well as members so let us know if there’s something you’d like to see us host.

The group has worked on a variety of projects in the past – LHS members are interested in everything from robots to carpentry to welding – and there’s always a mix of long term projects (like hacking a railway station clock or working on plans for Red Bull Flugtag) to smaller experiments like configuring the camera in LHS1 to flash lights and sound an alarm every time ‘curry’ was mentioned in the LHS chat channel. (We like curry and we’d hate anyone to miss one just because they weren’t signed in…)

There’s no expectations within the group, bring a project to work on by all means but you’re just as welcome to come and see what we’re already working on.

For eighteen months between 2009-2011 we had a hackspace in Holbeck, LHS1. It was small and on two levels which wasn’t ideal but the real drawback for us was the distance from the city centre. It was accessible by bus routes and car but the distance was an issue for most members and ultimately led to us handing our notice in this summer. While in LHS1 we increased our membership and visitors regularly dropped by. The space was open several nights each week and every Saturday. We struggled to host events or become part of the wider Leeds geek scene as a group though because of the space’s size and location.

We’ve learnt our lessons and LHS2 will be a much more ‘connected’ space.

Donating or subscribing helps us work towards getting our new space, we’re currently looking at a city centre location which would give us 1500ish sq ft to play with. Wherever we end up securing it will be filled with community shared tools and toys, will become a regular venue for Leeds geek events and will help the tinkerers, geeks and tech-curious of the city share skills. We’re aiming for it to be open every weekend and most evenings. It will be a hub of projects and people that anyone is welcome to drop into and explore.

Those who are a part of LHS believe that this is worth investing in, we hope you do too.

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