Teesside & District Branch - Making IT Good for Society

BCS Teesside Branch are ‘Making IT Good for Society’. The last few years have seen a break with traditional public meeting formats, they have looked to their local community to become more inclusive and collaborative.

November 2018 saw an organised BCS Teesside Branch visit to Hackspace Teesside, a worthy local, tinkering space for adults, running the Hackspace philosophy. They hold a regular ‘visitor Tuesday’ open evening for which we supplied pop and pizza.

In February 2019 support was given to our regional Code Club meet up and re-launch, we facilitated speakers at the event. It was great to hear how youngsters in the region are becoming code and tech savvy with the aid of volunteers.

The March 2019 event gave a nod to the past with a taste of the future thrown in. This was a joint event with The Code Show©, and Stockton Borough Libraries; BCS Teesside Branch facilitated this. They were secretly excited by the offerings of The Code Show: Retro is cool!

The thought of a hands-on roadshow featuring working Atari’s, BBC Computers, Amstrad’s and Commodore’s galore was enough to get our vote. The Committee all grew up on the tech exhibited within the travelling museum.

The Code Show© are Gary and his daughter Megan. They are based in the North West and are a travelling roadshow, demonstrating historical hardware and software from the home computer boom of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. They take the Roadshow throughout schools in the UK. Its owner, Gary McNab is an ICT teacher and tech fanatic. This event was their first ‘community’ event, and hopefully opened some doors for them.

There were over 80 visitors to the event which ran from 10am until 3pm on Saturday 23rd February. Great publicity for BCS Teesside, The Code Show and Stockton Borough Libraries.  The most popular exhibits were by far the VR headset, Lemmings running on Atari on the BBC-B Computer Chuckle Eggs and the iconic Sinclair C5, who could resist a ride in it?

Teesside Hackspace also had a stand at the event, they exhibited a robotic arm which they had laser cut from a sheet of Perspex fixed together and connected to an Arduino.
Stockton Central Library was considered a great venue being a spacious, central public building, with a ready supply of techies on hand. A Code Club runs from there each Saturday 10am to 12pm. The Library recently won funding from Arts Council England Libraries Opportunities for Everyone Innovation Fund which has created two fantastic spaces; The Innovation Station and The Imagination Station. The Code Show event paired the past with the future.

As Stockton Libraries continue to adapt to the changing demands of society and embrace opportunities for people to learn new digital skills, they are exploring the potential for volunteers with knowledge of 3D printers, 3D scanners, laser cutters or projection technology to be involved in supporting a programme of digital activity for all abilities.
Anyone who thinks they could help should get in touch by emailing emma.tennant@stockton.gov.uk

BCS Teesside have a great relationship with the local community and businesses. Members volunteer in local Code Clubs, judge in First Lego League competitions and are very involved with local education establishments, councils, Libraries and champion the benefits of professionalism within IT. The dedicated Committee are proactive in spreading the word of the BCS, ‘Making IT Good for Society’.