Here at Code Club, we love to collaborate to create new clubs and opportunities so that even more young people have the chance to get involved in computing and digital making. In this blog post, Anna Pearson, Code Club Regional Coordinator for the North East, tell us how she has been working alongside Northumberland County Council.
Improving digital literacy
18 months ago, the Northumberland County Council noticed there was a strong focus on digital skills in the North East, but within the Northumberland area there were only two active Code Clubs. With this in mind, the Council set out to grow their Code Club community — and they really did! Since this project started, the number of clubs in the area has increased to 25. These clubs actively help to decrease the digital skills gap, as well as providing young people across the county with skills and career goals.
When I started with Code Club in March 2017, I was introduced to Nathan Fuller, Project Support Officer at Northumberland County Council, and I was really excited by his enthusiasm about Code Club.
Skills for the younger generation
I asked Nathan the million-dollar question: ‘Why are Code Clubs so important to Northumberland County Council?’ He answered:
‘As in much of the UK, we have identified a clear digital skills gap in our county and the wider region, and we strongly believe that one of the ways to improve this is to start developing our younger generation. Code Club has been a great way to start this, and the reaction from hosts, volunteers, and, most importantly, the children, has been phenomenal’.
One of the clubs started in Northumberland is at Pegswood Primary School in Morpeth. The club is run by a volunteer duo who are mother and son. Nathan says:
‘This approach has given them a wonderful shared experience, and also developed the son’s confidence, providing real-world experience he can use to strengthen his future university and job applications. We see huge benefit in a volunteer running a club, as the children generally respond well to an external person going into school’.
Fun for Code Clubbers and volunteers
The Code Club at Pegswood encourages playful expression, so that pupils learn from one another and gain new skills and confidence surrounding coding. The volunteers even designed their own competition, in which the pupils’ task was to design and develop their own project and let their imaginations run wild.
Northumberland County Council has taken a very hands-on, proactive approach to collaborating with Code Club, and it is great to see so many new clubs being set up.
I asked Nathan to describe Code Club in three words, and he answered: ‘Fun, rewarding and inclusive.’ For people who are considering running or hosting a Code Club, he has these encouraging words:
’We appreciate that before volunteering you may be nervous, especially if you aren’t used to working with children, but the reactions we have seen have been positive all round.’
Volunteer with us
Whether you’re a coding expert or an absolute beginner, volunteering at your local Code Club is a great way to extend your digital skills. To get started as a volunteer, all you need to do is register online and connect with a club in a local school, library, or community venue that needs your help.
If you are a teacher or a member of staff at another venue which has space for a Code Club, and you’re interested in becoming a Code Club host, head to our website to register your new club and start looking for volunteers.