Computing club founder launches charity pledging to help Suffolk youngsters from low income families learn vital tech skills

Creative Computing Club founder Matthew Applegate with Ipswich council leader David Ellesmere.
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Creative Computing Club founder Matthew Applegate with Ipswich council leader David Ellesmere. Photo: Tim Driver - www.driverphotography.co.uk - Credit: Archant

A new charity has launched in Suffolk tonight – and what they are hoping to do has attracted the support of Ipswich mayor Sarah Barber and the county’s gaming community.

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The Creative Computing Club Charitable Foundation hopes to raise funds to buy computers for youngsters aged 11 to 22 from disadvantaged backgrounds, teaching them skills such as programming to give them a head start in their careers.

Hosted by charity founder Matthew Applegate, who has run seven successful Creative Computing Clubs across Suffolk for five years, the launch at the Eastern Enterprise Hub at the University of Suffolk was attended by high-profile national speakers as well as local experts.

Mr Applegate himself, who has worked for technology companies Nintendo, Sony and Apple, said ahead of the event: “We’ve had a lot of success in the last five years, we’ve now got seven clubs and around 105 kids that we work with in Suffolk.

“We help them to get GCSEs in IT, it takes about nine months but they manage to get them at 13 which gives them a brilliant start.

https://twitter.com/CCCCFSuffolk/status/934140420870868994

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“We noticed there can be big gaps in development with technology in children nowadays, which is why we wanted to start the charity.

“You’ve got some kids with brand new iPhones and iPads and others with third generation iPhones and no computers at home.

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“We want to raise money through donations and our clubs to fund the buying of computers for children from disadvantaged families.

“That way they can put the skills we learn in the clubs to the test, like programming and coding etc.”

One of the organisations’ biggest achievements to date is taking youngsters from the clubs on a three day course at GCHQ, working with experts at MI5.

Mr Applegate added: “That was so good for them, they were able to spend three days there, helped to programme and code.

“We’re looking to have our first applications for computers in early next year time, and more details about that will come out soon.”

Bill Thompson from the BBC, Andy Payne OBE from ESA, Mark Thomas from Coderus and Ms Barber all made speeches at the event.

Now the launch has taken place, Mr Applegate and his team hope to win support from councils and technology experts in Suffolk to begin raising funds for the computers.

Find out more by visiting the Creative Computing Club Charitable Foundation website.

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