Run a Code Club in your local Community Centre

Code Club’s flexible model means that volunteers can run clubs in a variety of different venues. We have a growing number of Code Clubs being run in community centres, and so we wanted to profile one of these clubs.

Andrew McKirdy works at CHESS community centre in Nuneaton, where he hosts a weekly Code Club (which is also part of our Star Clubs network). We found out about his experiences, and how easy and rewarding hosting a club can be…

Why did your venue start a Code Club?robot-015

I wanted to start a Code Club at the CHESS Centre to offer young people from a disadvantaged area of Nuneaton the opportunity to take part in a computer programming class. Code Club is perfect to help young people learn about Computing in a fun and accessible way.

Tell us as a bit about your Code Club.

CHESS Centre Code Club launched in April 2016. We run a session every Wednesday at the CHESS Centre in Nuneaton, which is currently attended by 22 children. We are about to launch two further clubs at Camp Hill Primary and St Annes RC Primary schools in Nuneaton.

What would you say are the benefits of hosting a Code Club at your venue?

The best thing about hosting a Code Club is watching the children learn new skills and listening to their experiences of learning to code. It’s a joy to be a part of their development and watching them become more skilled.

How do you work with/ support the volunteers who run the club?

I monitor and guide the volunteers who help me run the Code Club. I set up the classes and allow the volunteers to focus on the young people in the session. I provide all admin, refreshments and so on, which allows the volunteers the freedomchess-centre to focus on guiding the children through the projects for each session.

What has been your best ‘Code Club moment’?

One of the children came to me recently and said,  “I really look forward to coming to Code Club. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done.”

Another child in the club loves to show what he has accomplished, he is a very shy lad but coding brings him out of his shell.

Code Club is a truly rewarding experience, and I would recommend it to anyone!

You can visit the CHESS Centre’s Code Club to see first hand how amazing the club is, just head to our website for further details. Want to start your own club? Sign up to volunteer or host a club today!

How Universities can support student volunteering with Code Club

The staff and students at Wolverhampton University started a Code Club in November 2015 to help children in the local community learn coding skills after-school.  They have created a fantastic and fun Code Club, inspiring the next generation of coders.

Mark Bircumshaw, Education Advisor for the Faculty of Science and Engineering at the University, told us how the club at Wolverhampton Children’s Library got off the ground.

“We registered 3 students and one member of staff as volunteers with Code Club, and started off with some taster sessions during the October half term. We then began our first Code Club on Monday evenings once the school term began. The Children’s Library has 12 computers and to accommodate all those interested we ended up doubling up children to work in pairs. The space is very limited but we managed to create a fun, busy atmosphere each Monday.”wonderbot

They began the club by using Code Club’s Scratch projects, trying out a different project each week. “The first few weeks were as much about us learning alongside the children as they were about running a club in the community and working in collaboration with the Library.” Mark said, “The Library staff were very helpful, assisting with advertising the club via posters in the library, and gathering the children’s details and parental permissions.”

The demand continued to outgrow the computers and the space available, so they began running two back-to-back sessions after the Christmas break. The first group was for follow on students and the second for newcomers.

Kevin and Callam were two of the computing students that helped to lead the Code Cub sessions. Kevin is thrilled with how the club has “grown from strength to strength… this has been by far one of the best teaching environments I have ever been in. All of the students who visited each week were well behaved and were eager to just get on with the task in hand to complete, to the very best of their ability.

Being a member of Code Club  has shown me that people of all walks of life can be interested in programming, from such early ages; for me, as an aspiring Teacher of Computer Science, this is a really amazing thing to witness.”Halo 001

Callam also noted that “Code Club gave me the chance to explore a classroom environment from the perspective of a teacher or an authoritative figure. This has provided me with invaluable experience. Not only has Code Club allowed me to develop a teaching technique, it has also helped me to grow as a person. It has helped to build my confidence and to learn to communicate with others.”


If you would like to find out more about starting a Code Club through your University, Sixth form or Higher Education College, head over to our website: https://www.codeclub.org.uk/start-a-club/volunteers/student-volunteers

Could you be a Code Club student volunteer?

Are you a student looking to boost your digital skills and give back to your local community? Then we want you to become a volunteer for Code Club!

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You don’t need to have any existing computer programming knowledge to start a Code Club. In fact, volunteering with us is a great way to gain new experience which will look great on your CV – and have fun doing it!

But don’t just take our word for it, Chris Jones is a student from Portsmouth University who volunteered with us, read more about his Code Club experience below…


I decided to take part in Code Club as I was looking for something to do alongside my Software Engineering course at university. I felt Code Club was an excellent opportunity to broaden my skills and gain new experiences, while also volunteering in a subject I am familiar with, and feel confident to teach to younger children.

What stood out to me was that Code Club’s projects allow the children to be creative in what they are making, while they are learning new skills.

Starting the club

I started the club in November 2015 with another student volunteer at a local primary school. The club was attended by 30 children in total, who were all keen to do more in programming. The classes we taught ranged from year 3 to year 6, so some pupils had a lot more practice with Scratch than others. Once we realised this, we encouraged the older children to teach their younger peers. This meant that those more experienced were learning how to share their skills by helping others.

Code Club fitted into my schedule easily – I would be at Code Club once a week, for an hour and a half. The timing worked well for me, it ensured that running the club didn’t feel like an inconvenience while also at university trying to meet deadlines. The school I volunteered at was also considerate of us being at university, and were aware that we would need to stop for exam period and had no problem with it.

The benefits of Code Club

Code Club is an excellent way to build programming skills for children from a young age, giving them the opportunity to build other skills through programming. By learning through play and experimentation in an informal environment after-school, children begin to think differently about computers and technology.

Volunteering at the club introduced me to new experiences, which I would not have found in a lecture room. For example, the varying interests of the children meant that I had to work to keep them all interested and involved throughout the club. I wanted to ensure that they left the club feeling that coding was something they wanted to pursue in the future. Code Club also gave me a chance to develop my own skills away from university, and to give more variety in my weekly schedule.

After a couple of months of running the Code Club as a volunteer at the school, one child asked me to look at a piece of code which they had been working on at home, which they had thought of all by themselves. I was happy to look at this and was excited to see what they had done. Then I realised the amount of code that was there: this child, who had started the club as a beginner in coding, had written around 1000 lines of code that were too complex for me to fully assess in the club time!

Interested to get involved? Find out more about starting a Code Club on our website.

If you’re looking to host a Code Club in your school, library or community centre, you can read what it’s like to run a club with help from student volunteers here.