Working with communities is the lifeblood of what we do at DigiLocal. You have the connection to the young people and understand the local challenges they face.

DigiLocal @ Docklands

We will work with you to design a club that suits your needs and the needs of your young people. All our clubs are slightly different, there is no ‘cookie-cutter’ template solution that we deploy.

We can provide equipment. We have boxes of laptops that we move between clubs so they’re being used 6 nights a week (sometimes more). We keep them all updated with the latest patches and software. We’ll come in and make sure they work with your WiFi and any firewalls you have.

We can provide things to do each week. Our laptops come pre-loads with loads of project guides (over 90 at last count). Each guide is designed to be followed by a young person without direct ‘teaching support’. Some young people will need more support, some less; that’s something we’ll discover and young people progress through the projects.

We can connect you with volunteers. Volunteers are best when they come from the community, and that is always our first preference. We can work with your community to develop potential volunteers. Volunteers are supposed to be experts at programming (that’s why we have project guides, each guide has images of ‘perfect’ code answers) – they’re there to support the problem solving skills of the young people and build resilience.

DigiLocal volunteer at our recent celebration event

The phrases a volunteer will use most when something ‘goes wrong’ are: ‘Describe to me what actually happened’ – ‘Explain to me what should have happened’ : quite often at that point the young person will spot their ‘error’ and self correct it. The next stage is to ‘Read your code to me / show me on your screen where it should have done that but didn’t’. As a safety net the volunteer can always ask – ‘Show me where you are in the Project Guide, does your code look like the picture there?’

Most of the projects are written for Scratch, which is a very friendly web-page for building games and animations. It uses colourful building blocks to create code that can be quickly understood by anyone.

We also work closely with industry and help them with their corporate volunteering programmes. This is a great source of volunteers to complement those from your community.

For all volunteers we maintain records of Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks and status. We also provide all communications with parents on club activities, any cancellations, returning from breaks, and maintain a waiting list (all our clubs have a waiting list, they’re very popular).

What we need from you

A venue (ideally with WiFi), young people.

We will try to cover room hire costs from our donations, we recognise that you are also trying to be financially sustainable. We may ask parents for a voluntary donation to contribute towards those costs, but this will be managed sensitively outside of the club. We can arrange DirectDebit so that no one knows who is donating and who is not. All young people are treated completely identically.

Clubs run each week, so a regular booking in the same room is best. We need to be mindful of health and safety with cables and such like. Staying in the same room each week makes this much easier, it’s also easier for young people to get into the routine of always going to the same room each week for their DigiLocal club.

We’re already working with many communities in the area, we’d love to work with you!