A suitable venue is vitally important for running a successful Dojo. Firstly, all Dojos must be hosted in public venues and not in private residences. This is an integral part of CoderDojo policy and ensures that venues are safe, open, and accessible for young people.
Finding a suitable venue is one of the central aspects of getting your Dojo up and running, however it needn’t be a challenge. Around the world, Champions have found venues in their local communities that provide a free space to host their Dojo.
Types of venues
Below are some examples of different types of venues in use by Dojos around the world:
- Community centres
- Local businesses
- Technology hubs
- Conference centres
- Shopping malls
- Buses (yes, there are Dojo buses!)
Key items to consider when choosing a venue
- Power e.g. plug sockets/extension cables
- Tables and chairs for the attendees
- Public liability insurance and fire safety certification
Good to have
These things are not fully necessary, but are useful to have when running a Dojo:
- Internet access. A Dojo can run offline using software downloaded before the session, but being able to access resource online can make sessions easier.
- Computers. It is recommended that the young people attending bring their own (or their family’s) laptops, however, you may be able to find a venue that has computers available, e.g. a library.
Dojos should never charge for sessions — this is central to the CoderDojo ethos. So that you can open your Dojo to the local youth for free, it is crucial that your chosen venue does not charge a fee for providing space for your club.
Public libraries have proven to be good spaces for holding Dojos, as they are free, have a lot of space, usually have an internet connection, and may even have computers to use. You can also consider approaching businesses, hack- or makerspaces, tech hub, and conference centres in your local area. Occasionally, there can be costs that are out of your control, such as insurance. Speak with the venue business’s legal team about what you are covered for under their existing insurance. You are allowed to engage in fundraising for your Dojo to cover unavoidable costs such as insurance. Read more about our fundraising guidelines here.
Top tip: Be clear when approaching potential venues that you do not require anything special or costly; just heat, light, power, and WiFi (if possible). Often businesses have corporate social responsibility (CSR) schemes that are willing to support CoderDojo clubs.
**Please note: Dojos cannot be hosted in private residences for reasons of child protection and safety.