Salford Code Clubs: UPDATEFriday, January 9th, 2015

From Sunday 15th February, MadLab will be running Code Clubs in Salford, from our new public venue on Chapel Street. The clubs will give Salford children their first introduction to programming, by teaching them fun and interesting projects that will develop their computing skills.


The taught languages will progress through Scratch (a visual, block based programming language), HTML (used everywhere on the web) and Python (a simple to understand, general purpose programming language – it’s used on the Raspberry Pi).

At 2pm on Saturday 24th January 2015, at MadLab Salford (216 Chapel Street), we will be holding a welcome session; to give Salford kids their first introduction to programming and allow parents to ask any questions they might have (and perhaps have a go themselves). If you are interested in attending, please register at

The success of these clubs largely depends on generous volunteering by programming professionals and hobbyists, without whom the Code Club network could not function. We have brought together volunteers from local companies and organisations including the University of Salford and the BBC at Media City.

If you wish to find out more, please contact

Never been to MadLab, Salford before?


MadLab Salford,
216 Chapel Street,
M3 6BY

Want a map? Here you go:

Code Clubs at MadLabMonday, December 1st, 2014

Volunteer Opportunities!

MadLab and Code Club have joined forces to create weekly Code Clubs for 9 – 11 year olds in Salford. The new after-school clubs will run at MadLab’s brand new offices on Chapel Street and in primary schools around the Salford area.

Come along and find out more from 6pm on:

December 10th at MadLab, Manchester (42 Edge Street) Google Map


December 12th MadLab, Salford (216 Chapel Street) Google Map

Why are we doing this?

IMG_5089At the moment there are only a handful of Code Clubs in Salford. In comparison, one in five schools in Manchester and London host a club. We want to give as many Salford children as possible the chance to learn to code – but we can’t do this alone!

The scheme needs enthusiastic volunteers who want to share their love of code with the next generation while taking part in a rewarding, worthwhile experience. Which is where you come in!

How does it work?

Code Club is typically attended by around 10 to 15 children and runs for an hour each week.

Each club is led by a teacher from the school and a volunteer from the IT industry. Volunteers are usually developers by trade and can work individually on a club or as part of a team.

Clubs begin with basic coding in Scratch – a really colourful drag-and-drop way to code. There are then options to then move on to HTML and Python further down the line.

Children work through a series of projects to create games, animations and websites, the focus is on making coding fun, the learning then happens on its own.

They get club certificates as they move through the projects, and there are opportunities to enter competitions or try out seasonal activities too.

Children love working through the projects and in a recent survey have rated them as 92% fun!

We need you!

IMG_5085Volunteering to run a Code Club is very rewarding. Here’s what some existing volunteers say about their clubs:

Getting feedback on how much the kids enjoy the club and seeing the creative spark – it’s worth every minute

Teaching at my Code Club is the most rewarding part of my week

I enjoy being part of the solution of teaching computing in schools


We’ll help you through the volunteering process with set-up advice, networking opportunities and ongoing support.

We would strongly recommend that if you work with schools and schoolchildren, you join the STEM Ambassador Programme. This is a national programme coordinated by STEMNET, and managed locally through the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI), which offers, initial and ongoing training, DBS clearance and insurance (all free of charge). For more details see:

To register your interest email and visit for more information.

Come along and find out more from 6pm on:

December 10th at MadLab, Manchester (42 Edge Street) Google Map


December 12th MadLab, Salford (216 Chapel Street) Google Map


Christmas Tree Workshop at FACTThursday, December 18th, 2014

This past weekend has been quite a festive and creative one! Three of our staff were invited to FACT in Liverpool to run a workshop throughout the day to make some Christmas Trees using basic electric components and soldering. Lots of people came along eager to get their hands on making one, both kids and adults alike! Even with the need to use soldering irons, a lot of younger builders were up to the challenge and learned how to use one for the first time.

The results were fantastic, with everyone having success building their trees and some amazement when they first lit up. The trees run off a single ordinary 9V battery so they can keep running for days and days, and can easily be replaced to last the whole Christmas period! Here’s a photo of one of the young constructors from the weekend:

B4vM8A_CIAAL2Ev.jpg large

This workshop and a previous workshop creating Rudolph ornaments with light-up noses was designed to give children and young people an easy, fun introduction to electronics. They were based on ideas used in previous workshops such as Mitch Altman’s soldering workshops and the BUGS! workshop we did as part of Blackburn is Open. The workshops were designed around two simple LED circuits with the first Rudolph workshop using a 3V battery to power a flashing red LED connected using copper tape, while the second workshop explained in this post involved a more complicated circuit involving 7 LEDs in parallel powered by a 9V battery.

Both workshops gave us an opportunity to introduce people to basic soldering skills (don’t touch the hot end) and the principles of diodes (such as the orientation of LED legs for correct positive/negative polarity) Although these workshops were focussed on electronics we decided to use unexpected materials including laser-cut wood and copper tape to demonstrate how easy it is to make circuits that will function and that electronics need not look like traditional circuits nor use printed circuit boards to achieve the same results.

You can purchase your very own Christmas Tree to make over on Etsy, and watch a video below of how the event went with a look at the trees in action!

Written by Jake Causier, a graduate intern from Manchester Metropolitan University and Tamarisk Kay, Director at MadLab.

MegaMenger – lend us your hands!Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

In October, Manchester Science Festival is taking part in the MegaMenger distributed fractal building project. For more information about the project, please visit We’re building a huge fractal using over 1,000,000 business cards, using a simple folding method that doesn’t involve tape or glue.

Do you have a small army (or even 2-3 people) of folders that would like to be part of this build? We’re looking for people willing to come along and help on the day, as well as schools, offices and community groups prepared to build cube parts and bring them to be joined into the main build. We’ll have a list on the website of all the teams that have helped us build, and you’ll become part of a huge international project. Please contact us if you’re interested!

Katie Steckles
Manchester Organiser