National Volunteers’ Week: say hello to our volunteers Jeff and Lisa

This week marks National Volunteers’ Week in the UK, and we are celebrating the 18,000 volunteers across the globe who give their time each week to help inspire the next generation to code.

Allow us to introduce you to two of our volunteers in the UK: Jeff, who has been a Code Club volunteer for six years, and Lisa, who started her Code Club because the children she taught wanted to learn more about coding outside of the classroom.  

Meet Jeff

Jeff is a Code Club volunteer at a Code Club in Salisbury who has been volunteering with us for over six years! Jeff became interested in computers when he himself was a child:

I started my computing journey aged 12, with the home computer revolution of the 1980s. In those days, it was expected that you would write your own programs, and we were enthused by stories of teenagers becoming millionaires after creating popular games!

Jeff had two reasons for deciding to give his time to support Code Club:

I was taking a career break, and Code Club was a way for me to stay in touch with the essentials of my industry, especially as I’d moved away from programming. Also, I’d recently moved to the area, and volunteering was a way to get involved with the local community.

As he is one of our longest-standing volunteers, we asked Jeff what motivates him to keep on supporting Code Club and our vision to give every child the skills, confidence, and opportunity to change their world.

It’s nice to see the children developing their skills and especially to be able to encourage and mentor the ones who really ‘get it’. Our club has been running long enough that we’ve had many children returning year after year, and even some who have followed their older brothers or sisters through the club.

For everyone who has just started on their volunteer journey with Code Club, Jeff has this advice:

Different children enjoy different aspects of the projects, and you need to give them a bit of space to explore this, whilst also keeping them moving ahead on the overall task. We’re not trying to turn them all into programmers but to give them an understanding and a flavour of what programming is.

Say hi to Lisa

Lisa teaches Computing to Year 1–6 students at the Arches Community Primary School in Chester.

A lot of the children Lisa taught wanted to do more coding outside of the classroom. While she attended Picademy, Raspberry Pi’s professional development programme, she found a great way to give her students that opportunity: setting up a Code Club at her school!

At Lisa’s Code Club, three quarters of the participants are girls, and all her learners support each other in the sessions:

I love seeing the relationships the members build. They all go to the same school, but the Code Club members are like a little family. As a volunteer, I love watching their creativity, resilience, and collaboration blossom — all the aspects of computational thinking that underpin everything we do in life.

While volunteering, you sometimes come across club members who are nervous or unsure whether they can code. Lisa gives this advice to all her club members:

We love hearing about the moments when you as volunteers see the difference you are making to young lives. One of Lisa’s favourite moments is this:

I taught a girl in Year 5 who cried every time I said we were going to do coding. She really struggled with the concepts and thought this was because she’s a girl. I reminded her that I am a girl, and I can code. I invited her to Code Club and paired her up with a more confident girl. Now she’s in Year 6 and mentors new starters to our club! She is an incredibly talented programmer and is so creative.

If you are one of the 18,000 people who support Code Club each week, we want to say an enormous THANK YOU to you!

Jeff and Lisa support young learners, and so can you!

Could you give one hour a week to inspire the next generation to code, like Jeff and Lisa do? Then sign up and become a Code Club volunteer today.

A goodbye and a hello!

This month, we’re waving a fond farewell to Sarah Sheerman-Chase, who has been part of Team Code Club for the last 5 years… but we’re delighted to welcome Lucia Manzitti, who is taking Sarah’s place as Head of Code Club UK and Ireland.

Goodbye from Sarah  

The last five years working at Code Club have been a period of amazing personal and professional growth, and as I prepare to move on to a new adventure, here are just some of the highlights that I will remember:

Training for volunteers on FutureLearn

In 2017, I created a free online course for Code Club volunteers called Prepare to Run a Code Club. It was released in November after a year of writing, wrangling, and filming — one of the biggest challenges for me was learning how to read an autocue to make the video content!

More than 7000 people have taken part in the course so far, and I have absolutely loved reading and replying to the comments and questions from learners all over the world who are setting up clubs in their local communities.

Twitter chats

I’ve really enjoyed having the chance to interact with the thousands of passionate and enthusiastic volunteers in the Code Club community, and our regular Twitter chats have been my favourite way to communicate and share with them about teaching kids to code.

I learned how to construct a great question that gets people talking to one another online — and of course, not to schedule the chat at the same time as the Great British Bake Off.

Why not join us at the next global Code Club Twitter chat on Tuesday 16 July, 7pm? Follow #CodeClubChat and join the conversation.

Capturing Code Club on film

Some of my most memorable moments have been filming in various Code Clubs all around the country. I love the video What do kids say about Code Club?, which we created at Liverpool Library in 2016. Meeting the club members and hearing about how Code Club inspired them was wonderful.

It’s been an absolute privilege to work with the incredibly smart, talented, and funny people in the Code Club team and community. Thank you to you all for a remarkable journey!

Hello from Lucia

Lucia Manzitti joined our team on 28 May, and she will be focussing on the growth of our Code Club UK and Ireland programme, including engagement of volunteers.

I am so excited to be joining the Code Club team at the Raspberry Pi Foundation, and I look forward to getting to know our community of volunteers and educators over the next few months!

– Lucia Manzitti, Head of Code Club UK and Ireland

Lucia has previously worked on integrating creative education programmes in primary and secondary schools all around the UK, and on nurturing school communities through social media. She loves colourful art exhibitions and walking the narrow streets of Istanbul.

If you want to connect with the Code Club team, drop us a line at hello@codeclub.org, or reach out to us on social media @CodeClub.


Club members make micro:bits into lucky charms

On an island off the eastern coast of Canada, one Code Club has been getting creative with micro:bits. Club leader Michelle spoke to us about the benefits of bringing code to life with physical computing.

Random Island Academy Code Club

Code you can hold

At Random Island Academy Code Club in Hickman’s Harbour, Newfoundland, club members have recently been making the jump from block coding with Scratch to physical computing.

To celebrate St Patrick’s Day, the club coded micro:bits — microcontrollers that can be programmed to do tasks such as lighting up LEDs and measuring temperature — and put them inside shamrocks made of card and paper. Students coded the micro:bits to display lucky messages using the skills they had learned in their club. Some students even made interactive games as part of the project.

Creating ‘ah-ha’ moments

Club leader Michelle thinks that there are a lot of benefits to encouraging children to learn to code.


“I really love the ‘ah-ha’ moments, when it clicks and the student experiences success in their code. They work so hard, fail, try again, and again, and again, and when they finally get it, the happiness in their eyes and the smile on their faces tell me it is worth every minute of volunteering my time.”
– Michelle, Code Club leader

Moving code from a screen and into the real world has also had an impact:


“The students really put their problem-solving strategies to task as they work through this project. They are finding coding micro:bits much more rewarding than simply writing code on the computer. The fact that they have a tangible piece [of technology] holding their very own code astounds them!”
– Michelle, Code Club leader

Random Island Academy Code Club with their micro:bits

Got micro:bits? Get coding!

If you have micro:bits and want to use them in your Code Club, then head on over to our micro:bit projects for ideas. If you’ve been inspired by the Random Island Academy Code Club, you could start with our Fortune Teller project and adapt it to display your own lucky messages.

Share your creations with us on Facebook and Twitter — we’d love to see them! To find out more about Code Club in Canada, visit www.codeclub.ca.