Code Club is a nationwide network of volunteer-led after-school coding clubs for children aged 9-11, and it’s looking to expand its network into the south west.
Basically, it’s a scheme where tech-savvy volunteers go to their local primary school with course materials provided by Code Club to teach children how to program.
Why isn’t it here already?
With over 2177 Code Clubs already existing across the UK, teaching over 30,000 kids, it seems strange that Code Club isn’t happening more in Bristol and Bath already.
We caught up with Seemah Burgess (pictured left), the South West Co-ordinator at Code Club. It’s her role to help expand the volunteer network here in the South West by providing support to existing Code Club communities and helping grow new ones. She is as surprised as we were at the small amount of clubs in Bristol and Bath: “We live in the right networking space, a tech city full of lots of very quirky businesses, so why it isn’t more common is a good question.
“I don’t think there has been enough awareness of Code Club until now; we are building a digital city but in danger of forgetting about the kids. That’s one of the reasons I’m really excited to be helping grow Code Club in the south west.”
Code club recently received £120,000 of funding from Google, meaning the organisation has some impressive plans. As Seemah explains: “We have the ambitious target of getting Code Clubs in 20% of primary schools by the end of 2015. This means we need to have 5000 clubs, currently we have just over 2100!
“Supporting local communities and maintaining relationships at a local level is really the only way that we stand a chance of hitting these targets – Code Club isn’t a London initiative, so it’s really important that we have local people responsible for helping us grow in their region all across the UK.”
Can you help?
As Seemah explains, it’s easy to get involved: “It’s really simple! We ask for people interested in volunteering to give up one hour a week to run a Code Club in a school or venue near where they live or work using resources we have developed. Potential volunteers can find schools and venues that would like to host a club on our website and get in touch – there are lots all over the country!
“We are also always looking for Code Club evangelists to spread the word and help set up clubs in schools that don’t know about us.
“Volunteers are often enthusiastic parents, teachers, industry professionals or anyone else who is passionate about helping kids learn to code”
“We need as many local businesses and individuals as possible to step up and get involved. Volunteers are often enthusiastic parents, teachers, industry professionals or anyone else who is passionate about helping kids learn to code.
“We’d especially like to forge relationships with local companies who run CSR programmes or would like to increase their impact in the community, especially in schools. And if you aren’t in a position to dedicate time or the time of your staff then donations also allow us to invest locally.”
The video below gives you the lowdown from some of the volunteers already running Code Clubs: