Blog 6th Aug 2018

A team of Speechmatics volunteers set out to Cambridge-based ‘ChYpPS’ at Brown’s Field Youth and Community Centre in Arbury last Friday to help teach children in the local area some basic, practical coding skills.

ChYpPS is part of a summer programme organised by Cambridge City Council and stands for Children and Young People’s Participation Service. The organisation works with children and young people of all ages across the city, organising community activities in local neighbourhoods in response to need.

The group of four Speechmatics employees spent the afternoon volunteering their time in the community, splitting their time into two 1.5 hour sessions. The key aims and objectives were to give the children a chance to learn code, using a simple drag-and-drop programming language called Scratch.

In one session with the younger children, Speechmatics volunteers taught them how to build a Ghostbusters Code Club game, and then extended it using their own ideas. For the older children (10+) this turned out to be too basic and so a challenge was set to build the classic game Pong, which they did amazingly quickly and with almost no help at all.

Richard Silk, Programmer at Speechmatics said “It is amazing how quickly the children picked up the basics of coding and how creative they can be once they’ve mastered the tools. The day was a huge success and both sessions were oversubscribed. ChYpPS is a great organisation and has expressed that they would be keen to work with us again, and so we’re currently in talks with them about turning it into a regular event. Who knows what other challenges we’ll be able to introduce in the future… maybe robots? Watch this space.”

Interested to learn more about what Speechmatics do for the community? Take a look at some recent activities that we’ve done with Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust, our charity of the year, including the team’s latest volunteering day at the hospital.

Ben Leaman, Speechmatics