Farset Outreach 2015/16 – Call for mentors

TL;DR Want to support outreach and education activities at Farset Labs, or just get voluntary sector experience? Sign Up Here!

After a long summer hiatus, CoderDojo is relaunching at Farset Labs, under old management on Friday the 2nd of October from 17:30 to 19:30. We’re also unveiling separate FarsetDojo Twitter and Facebook pages where we’ll be sharing what goes on, so give them a Follow and a Like to keep up to date with the latest Dojo happenings.

Eventbrite - Farset Labs CoderDojo

But this post isn’t (just) about that. Farset Labs was built around the idea of exploration and giving back to the wider community, presenting opportunities that people wouldn’t necessarily get a chance to.

Over the past three and a half years, we’ve helped so many people, young and not so young, engage with technology in a much more human way, and we do that on the strength of our mentors.

And basically, we need you!

So, if you’re interested in helping out with CoderDojo, Raspberry Jam, or just want to put your name down on the “call out” list for our outreach events, please take two minutes and fill in the form below. Your contact information will be private and you will only be contacted for relevant outreach activities.

Also you don’t have to be a Farset Labs Member to be a Mentor (but it always helps!), and if you’ve got any questions about Farset’s outreach programmes, give us a shout on outreach@farsetlabs.org.uk

Getting kids excited about Computer Science in Northern Ireland

The following is a combined position paper and call-to-action for a project that many of us have been working on behind the scenes for a long time now, especially Andrew Mulholland who’s taken over the operation of the Raspberry Jam programme.

Andrew and I collaborated on this document to put forward our plans for a school outreach programme built on the experience we’ve gained from running the Jam programme in Belfast for the past two years, including a collaboration between Farset Labs, Digital Circle and W5 that brought teachers together from across the province to share best practice for ICT education, as well as receiving our ‘wisdom’ from running CoderDojo and Jam-like programmes. This programme was assessed DCAL and was very well received but due to personnel changes in some relevant organisations, has not been directly carried on as a full pilot programme.

We hope to change that, and thanks in part to Andrew’s recent successes at the TalkTalk Digital Hero awards, as well as working over the summer with the Raspberry Pi Foundation, we’ve secured match funding up to £4,000 to support the proposed programme.

But we need your help to drum up the rest of our estimated £8,000 programme costs, and hopefully this document will help. Have a read at our thoughts, and Andrew and I are more than happy to answer any questions, concerns or ideas about the proposed programme.


We’re happy to announce that The CultureTech Festival have pledged £1,000 towards this programme, as well as inviting us to participate in three events in the North West.


Northern Ireland Raspberry Jam 5 (EU Code week)

On Saturday 11th October, 15 kids and their parents turned up at Farset Labs for the 5th Northern Ireland Raspberry Jam as part of EU Code week.


The kids worked through a number of challenges, the main being building their own reaction timer game using ScratchGPIO, a breadboard and a number of components.2



We also had a film crew in filming the Raspberry Jam from Fuzzy Duck (filming for TalkTalk) after Andrew won the Next Generation Digital Hero award. They were making a film of what he does which included the Raspberry Jam. The short film should be out in a few weeks.


In between creating awesome reaction timer games, playing with RGB LEDs and hacking Minecraft, the kids also found time to make use of the event space blackboard.


The Northern Ireland Raspberry Jams are now going to be running monthly! They will run on the second Saturday of every month.

The other 2 Raspberry Jams for this year are

More details of what we will be up to at these Jams will be announced in due course.


Special thanks to Andy McMullen and Katie’s dad for the photographs, Queen’s University School of Electronics, Electronic Engineering and Computer Science for the lend of some Raspberry Pis, Victoria College for the excellent writeup and Fuzzy Duck productions for coming over to do some filming.

New Year, New Dojo

We are excited to announce that Coderdojo will be starting up again on the Friday the 24th of January.
All the dates for Coderdojo until Easter are now on the Eventbrite ready for you to book your place.

As you maybe aware last year we did survey asking for your opinion on Coderdojo. The results showed we need to make some changes.

The changes that we’d like  to make to improve the Dojo in the new year are:

  • More Structured Programmes
  • More Organisation
  • More P.R.
  • Starting Projects where the kids can work together

The mentors will be meeting on Friday at 5.30pm in the Event Space to start planning these changes. If you wish to help us with these changes, please join us on Friday.

Raspberry Jam Round-up

For any visionary, dreamer or hapless idiot trying to drive societal change, there can be few things more vindicating than the sight of school-age kids teaching adults how to do things. I wandered into our Raspberry Jam event on Saturday and felt the status bar on my Hope Drive stretch out a little, maybe from orange into green. Raspberry Jams are open to anyone and this time we had people from zero years-old (yes, actually) up to, well, I wouldn’t like to say but put it this way: they’d remember Belfast before The Troubles.

This time the regular Farset crowd got a big boost by having the running of the event taken off our hands by the irrepressible AndrewMulholland, who finds time amidst schoolwork to make and teach technology (we hear his latest project  with his school robotics club is a cardboard quadcopter; turns out the sky isn’t the limit!). Andrew is one of a line of Dalriada acolytes to find their way to Farset somehow, setting a high bar for the involvement of NI’s schools in the maker revolution.

Continue reading Raspberry Jam Round-up