Thanks to a novel ‘reversathon’ fundraiser, islanders on the autistic spectrum will have the chance to master computer coding during an exciting five-day workshop, running from 20-24 February at the Digital Greenhouse.
The coding course is being offered through Autism Guernsey and is aimed at teenagers and adults with autism who are interested in computers and technology. The workshops will provide a supportive and friendly environment in which people can learn about computer coding and the skills necessary to build basic websites.
The aim of the workshops is also to provide an inspiring and creative environment for people who enjoy working with technology, as well as to pass on valuable employability skills to those looking to work in the digital sector.
The coding course is free to attend and this has been made possible by the efforts of local man, Art Leadbeater, who undertook a day-long ‘Reversathon’ around Guernsey last July. Art is a member of the Rotary Club of Guernsey and via a grant from the Rotary Foundation, funds he raised from the ‘Reversathon’ were matched pound for pound to cover the cost of the course.
Mr Leadbeater explains his unique ‘reversathon’ challenge and why he chose to raise funds for Autism Guernsey: ‘My grandson has autism and getting help to manage the issues he faces has been difficult. The work that Autism Guernsey does is fantastic and I wanted to support them.
‘My grandson, who is now 18 years old, used to love me reversing my truck, so that inspired my charity challenge. I reversed the truck around the island, twice.
‘It was all made possible thanks to support from the Rotary Club of Guernsey and Bruno Kay-Mouat and Ian Phillips of Channel Seaways, who provided the outriders.
‘It’s very satisfying to see the money being used to help people with autism develop new skills that could become a hobby or help them find employment.’
The coding workshops will be run by Channel Island entrepreneur, Jonathan Channing. Jonathan began his business after attending a similar coding event in 2014 following his autism diagnosis. The course ignited a passion and a real sense of purpose in him. Jonathan admitted: ‘From the moment I learned the first tag of HTML, I was hooked; coding became an amazing outlet for me.
Jonathan’s business grew from this opportunity and he is uncompromising about the enormous impact that coding has had on his life: ‘I always knew I was unconventional in thought and execution, but seeing the world from a different perspective and thinking differently has real advantages in my line of work as a web developer.’
Anyone with autism who is interested in finding out where their love of technology might take them, please email firstname.lastname@example.org