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Hull Raspberry Jam is transforming the way we learn about computers

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Hull Raspberry Jam strives to build a community around programming and digital-making in the city.

The Raspberry Pi is a small, affordable computer that can be used to learn programming through fun, practical projects. This is what Hull Raspberry Jam uses to teach people of all abilities and ages the basics.

“I was building a Raspberry Pi-powered robot with my daughter over the Easter holidays and the video I posted online grabbed the attention of Claire Garside of Leeds Raspberry Jam,” explains Jon Witts, Founder of Hull Raspberry Jam.

“We got chatting and I mentioned that it was a shame that Hull didn’t have access to a Raspberry Jam event like in Leeds and Manchester. Claire’s response? She told me to make it happen.”

Almost two years later, Hull Raspberry Jam runs free community programming events every other month, focussed around the Raspberry Pi computer. Each event involves workshops on programming and electronics; show-and-tells, where members of the group can informally present their latest work; and drop-in sessions to help those who are working on projects.

“We’re accessible for all ages and abilities. Our main aim is to create a friendly, open community of people and provide a place for those who want to learn about programming and digital-making,” Jon tells us.

“It’s also a space where teachers can find support with embedding the use of technology in classrooms, and where other makers can connect and share their work.”

Developing key skills in technology is an excellent way of raising your employability levels, as well as making professional connections, meeting new people and deepening your understanding of the subject.

“Firstly, the Jam gives an opportunity for those who have knowledge and skills to pass them on to others who are keen to know more. Secondly, we provide a platform for people who want to develop their understanding of computer programming,” Jon continues.

“Finally, by allowing everyone the chance to find out what this tiny yet powerful computer can do, we hope to have a positive impact on the wider community in Hull by increasing interest in STEM activities and jobs.”

You can book free tickets to a session via the Hull Raspberry Jam Facebook page, Eventbrite or their website.

“If developers want to get involved, we are always happy to accept the offer. You don’t necessarily have to know about Raspberry Pi to contribute. There are a lot of different jobs that people can get involved with and you learn as you help others, too.”

The charity is also on the lookout for businesses that can provide equipment and monetary donations.

“We aim to always keep the events free for everyone to attend, but we have limited access to machinery and rely upon the goodwill of volunteers to bring their personal hardware to the Jam,” Jon points out.

“The recent Community Grant from KCOM has enabled us to start purchasing items of our own, but with additional equipment we can make this experience available to more people and offer a wider range of activities.

Anyone who is interested in supporting or getting involved with the Jam can get in touch with Jon online.

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