Creative computing club clicking with youngsters in Ipswich and Stowmarket

Matthew C Applegate at the re-launch of the Creative Computing Club. Photo: Tim Driver

Matthew C Applegate at the re-launch of the Creative Computing Club. Photo: Tim Driver - Credit: Archant

Creative Computing Club founder Matthew C Applegate is on a mission to arm youngsters with the programming, video game design, electronics, robotics and web development skills they need to thrive in the modern world - and have fun doing it.

“We don’t have groups bigger than 15 kids. If I have any more than that I’m doing them a disservice, I’m not really engaging with them. It’s a very intense 90 minutes of all kinds of wacky technology stuff that’s relevant to what’s going on in their lives,” said the internationally renowned musician, academic, author and video game designer.

“And we might have five minutes at the beginning where we discuss something that’s come up in the news like the Philae landing... You put it to them that ‘hey, it took programmers to land that thing’.”

The Ipswich group has spent weeks making a simple maze game, building their own version of Photoshop and programming circuits. The grand plan is to build a digital Christmas tree they can take home which will flash and play songs.

The re-launched club meets from 4.30pm-6pm at UCS in Ipswich every Wednesday and the same time at The Mix in Stowmarket on Thursdays, with courses for ages seven-11, 11-16 and adults. Applegate plans to have four or five groups up and running by the end of the year, with the overall aim to have a dedicated centre in Ipswich by 2018.

“Yes they’re doing maths, programming logic; but we don’t label it as learning because learning has been associated with something they’re forced to do. I just show them how to make cool things and if they want to do that they have to engage.

“Kids need to be taught the current technology so when they leave school they’re at the right level... Places like China, its 12-year-olds are the equivalent of our degree level (in terms of programming skills).

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“It’s alarming but we have a real opportunity here. England has a brilliant history and culture of programming; look at Bletchley Park. We need to embrace that.”

For more details about the club, supported by UnLtd, Google, HTK, Connect Education and Business, Eastern Enterprise Hub, UCS, The Mix and Recreate; visit