This #VolunteersWeek, we celebrate by sharing the experiences of the amazing people who help to inspire children across the UK to get excited about coding and digital making. Amanda Coffey is a parent and she runs a Code Club at Firfield Primary School. We spoke to her about how she got involved with Code Club, and what she has gained from volunteering at her local school. Here is what she told us:
“I was inspired to volunteer when I was talking to another mum, Jasjit, in the playground and she started telling me about Code Club. It sounded really interesting. I am not a coder, but I had dabbled in the past. For me, coding wasn’t a scary thing, it was just something I hadn’t learnt, but I knew that most of my peers didn’t feel the same way: they were scared of coding. I wanted my children to grow up seeing coding as just another tool, not something scary, but I didn’t know enough to teach them. So when I heard about Code Club, it sounded perfect.
That day I went to my running club and was talking to Ian, the coach, telling him what Jasjit had told me about Code Club, and he was really interested as well. So together the three of us started a club at our school. We have been great friends ever since.
Our Code Club has been running for almost two years. We have between 16 and 18 pupils each week, with a teacher from the school there for support. The club is oversubscribed with a waiting list, we had to put names in a hat in order to choose who could come! I think the reason we have so many pupils wanting to come and code is because we ran a celebration assembly last year, where we were able to share our children’s coding projects with the rest of the school and to hand out certificates. We are lucky that our head teacher values coding enough to give us that opportunity. It is not just parents that don’t know what coding is – the children don’t know either, so inviting them to a Code Club means nothing to them. Showing the whole school the different projects the first batch of Code Clubbers had been able to try taught every child what coding is and how much fun it can be.
I am lucky enough to be a stay-at-home mum at the moment, so I have time to run a Code Club. But I’ve been volunteering for different causes for years. If you haven’t tried it before, give it a go. With Code Club the projects are already made for you, so you don’t have to spend hours planning. It is a very easy club to run. You really will love it.
By volunteering with Code Club, I met two of my best friends, Jas and Ian. I just spent Mother’s Day running a half-marathon with Jas, and she is trying to teach me to cook proper Dal, whilst Ian and I share music and books. It’s been such a rewarding experience running our club together. I love showing the children new things and seeing them getting excited. They always have the best ideas for what to make and by supporting them I am learning so much.”
Interested in volunteering with Code Club? Find out more on our website.