Why we volunteer for Code Club

At Code Club we are lucky to have thousands of volunteers who give their valuable time each week to help us on our mission to get young people coding. This National Volunteers’ Week, Caroline Vaan-Canning, our Regional Coordinator for the South West, reflects on what it is that makes people volunteer their time for Code Club.

Time is a funny thing that means different things to different people: numerous physicists and thinkers have attempted to define time, and no single definition is universally accepted.

I have been the Code Club Regional Coordinator for the South West for two years, and in that time, I have had the privilege to meet some of the most wonderful volunteers any charity could hope for. Be they educators, technology professionals, students, or parents, they are all united by their willingness to donate their time in order to support young people learning to code.

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Caroline volunteering at Code Club

Why do these lovely people volunteer for Code Club? I posed that question to four volunteers and received four different, insightful answers.

What motivates our volunteers

Elena from Somerset said she was inspired to volunteer after she saw the impact Code Club was having on her own children. “Code Club is a wonderful way to help children broaden their minds. My children couldn’t get enough of it, and we ended up going to all the sessions available at our local library. As a parent, I have watched my children’s skills grow. That’s the reason I became a volunteer — to help other children’s minds grow too.”

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Members of Elena’s Code Club recently won the Scratch category at Coolest Projects UK

Meanwhile, KS2 Computer Science educator Neil told me about how being a volunteer has allowed him to develop his own skills. He said: “By running a Code Club, you are not only helping young people to understand the whole coding ethos, but also the way it works in the world around them. As a bonus, we also get to learn with them and have a great time while doing so. You may even get a new career out of it!”

For software engineer and STEM Ambassador Milo, it’s the pure enjoyment of Code Club that keeps him coming back: “Working with children to create fun and imaginative projects is both enjoyable and rewarding. The ideas they come up with often shock me due to their ingenuity and eccentricity.”

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Milo, Elena and Steve at Code Club

Finally, it was a desire to share his love for coding that led software developer Steve to volunteer with Code Club. He said: “For volunteers, Code Club provides the opportunity to share a passion and enthusiasm for coding, and it is very rewarding to see the children develop. For children, Code Club gives them the opportunity to learn a great skill in a fun and engaging manner.”

Why you should volunteer with Code Club

These volunteers and others like them know that life is simply better when you give something back: an hour spent at Code Club doing something to make someone else’s day better, makes your own day better too.

From my own volunteering experience I know that donating time to Code Club can truly make a difference to everyone involved. As a volunteer, the Code Club learning resources help you advance your problem-solving abilities, and encourage you to build your own ideas, no matter what level your coding skills were at before you started. It’s why the Code Club volunteering network continues to grow across the world.

If you are reading this as one of the many wonderful volunteers out there, I just want to say a huge thank you to you for supporting Code Club. If you know someone who would benefit from volunteering with us, please spread the word to them by sharing our website on Twitter and Facebook, or by inviting them to our next meetup.

#VolunteersWeek: It’s been a blast!

We have had a fantastic Volunteers Week 2015, with loads of great meet ups in London, Birmingham, Leicester, Aberdeen and Bristol. We also held our first inter-generational coding session at the Google Garage in Leeds, with members of Little London Primary’s Code Club and Age UK’s Silver Surfers. It was a great event highlighting the excitement of digital making for all ages.

We want to take this opportunity to say another huge thank you to all of our super talented, super awesome volunteers for the work that you do inspiring the next generation to get excited about computer science.

Before our #VolunteersWeek blog series comes to a close, we have one more volunteer to meet…


Errietta Kostala runs a Code Club in Barrow-In-Furness, she told us about her experiences:

pic1What inspired you to volunteer for Code Club?

I’m a programmer, and I am very enthusiastic in both learning more myself, and teaching others. Passing my skills on to the next generation seems like an amazing way to do just that! Programming can be fun and rewarding both as a hobby and as a job, so I believe it’s a great skill to teach. In addition to this, code club sessions focus on students working together and helping each other, which also makes them fun and useful at teaching important life skills.

What has been your best ‘Code Club moment’?

My favourite thing about Code Club is seeing my students’ enthusiasm. I love seeing them experiment with Scratch and trying their own thing, building on top of what is shown in sessions.

What would you say are the benefits of volunteering for Code Club/ volunteering in general?

Volunteering looks great on a CV, plus it’s fun and it’s a way to learn new skills and meet new people!

Why is Code Club important to you?

It provides me with a way to share my skills, and it’s a great chance to do something different and break the daily routine. Plus it may make more people interested in programming, which is something the field needs!

How does volunteering fit into your schedule/daily life?

My employer, Shadowcat Systems, provides me with the ability to run Code Club during work hours, which makes it much easier, giving me the ability to commute from Lancaster and run the club without having to worry about lost work hours.


We always want to celebrate our volunteers & their clubs. Got a story to share with us? Get in touch – we love hearing from you!

#VolunteersWeek: A star volunteer at a Star Club!

Robin Blackstone is one of our super-talented volunteers who runs a Star Club at Irchester Community Primary School in Northamptonshire.

Star Clubs are outstanding Code Clubs with friendly volunteers and supportive teachers and venue representatives, which are open for new or prospective volunteers to visit as an example of best practice and all round awesomeness.

Robin told us a bit about what inspired him to volunteer with us:


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“I got involved with volunteering for Code Club because I was tinkering with Raspberry Pi computers and wanted to do something to support the educational ethos of the project. When I then stumbled upon Code Club, it was a natural fit. Code Club was the kind of thing I would have loved to have done when I was 10 but didn’t get the opportunity.

I find that there is an enormous sense of satisfaction when a child finally gets their own game working after spotting a critical bug, or when you realise that the children can navigate their way around Scratch quicker than you! As a parent, volunteering at the Code Club has also enabled me become more involved with the school that my daughters attend.

My best Code Club moment was when we took three of our coders to Cambridge to take part in Pi Wars. Together we built and programmed a robot and competed against the “big kids.” We didn’t win but it really inspired the children.

Code Club is important to me, firstly because it is important to the kids in my club. Secondly, because when I was at school an interest in computing made you a nerd. Now, Code Club is helping to make coding cool – even Will.i.am is into it – who would have ever thought!

I am lucky that I finish work in time for Code Club. That said, my employer is supportive, I’m never held back for any reason when it’s time for my club!”


Want to pay a visit to Robin at his Star Club? You can arrange a visit here. Alternatively, you can search for your nearest Star Club on our website: https://www.codeclub.org.uk/star-clubs/visit

Already volunteering and think your Code Club could achieve Star status? You can now apply to become a Star Club here. If you are already a Star Club, you don’t need to reapply, we’ll contact you to tell you how to renew.