#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:


“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.

#VolunteersWeek: Teacher training with Code Club Pro

Julia Harrison is a volunteer for Code Club’s teacher training arm, Code Club Pro. Code Club Pro asks experts to donate 8 hours per year of their time to share knowledge with teachers in their local areas.

We asked Julia to explain a bit about her work with Code Club Pro, and helping teachers conquer the challenges of the new curriculum:


“Technology is one of my big passions, and I get a lot of satisfaction from volunteering activities that enable and inspire more children to use computing in their careers. It’s fulfilling to help teachers gain confidence and enthusiasm to teach core computing concepts, and hopefully I can shatter some preconceptions of what it’s like to work in IT along the way!

The new computing curriculum is a great opportunity to open the minds of children to the idea that they can be digital makers – actually creating their own games and computer programs.

For many primary school teachers who have never written a line of code, clearly this is going to be a big leap. I’m thrilled that the IT industry is stepping up to support them, and I wanted to be a part of that.

Code Club Pro makes it easy for us to contribute in a way that adds real value. Morgan Stanley actively encourages all of its employees to volunteer within our communities. My job requires me to attend a lot of meetings, but because I can book Code Club Pro sessions in advance at a time that suits me, and I have the support of my managers, it’s easy to work them into my schedule.

It’s great when teachers start to notice that so many computing concepts are very similar to what they’ve been teaching for years. I’m excited that all children now have the opportunity to learn about coding, both for the career opportunities it opens up, and to understand the technology we use in our daily lives.”

Interested in getting involved in volunteering with Code Club Pro, or want to learn more about attending a teacher training session? Find out more at https://www.codeclubpro.org