Josh has spent the last 10 months of his prison sentence doing daily work experience at Yoomee in Sheffield. Today we’re delighted he’s been released and will start a job at Metro Bank in London next week.

It’s not been an easy journey, but Josh has shown hard work pays off if you stick at something for the longterm. He’s shown incredible perseverance, against all the odds, and has been an inspiration to us all. Now Josh can move on with his life. We’re delighted to have been part of his journey and proud of all he’s achieved. …

This blog post is written by Josh who is working at Yoomee as part of the Code4000 project, Europe’s first prison coding workshop helping to break the cycle of crime.

Yesterday was three years to the day since I was arrested and also the day my first piece of client work went live at It’s also three and a bit months before I am to be released from prison.

The backstory

On 22 May 2017 I was sentenced to four years and four months in prison. After a couple of weeks in HMP Hull, I was transferred to HMP Humber for…

We’re hiring an Operations Manager to manage a team of developers for Code4000 at Yoomee. Help us break the cycle of crime by teaching prisoners coding with Code4000.

Salary range:

£24,905 — £27,750 pa

The Role:

Based in the Code4000 Hub at Yoomee in Sheffield, the job’s purpose is to manage and develop a team of graduate coders, during daily Release on Temporary License (ROTL) and on release from prison, whilst they complete additional training in hard coding skills and employment skills and work on real jobs to increase their skills and confidence and generate income to underpin the financial…

Yoomee has been working closely with non-profit Code4000 to help break the cycle of crime by teaching prisoners coding.

Josh (left) with volunteer mentor Ryan (right)

Code4000 is Europe’s first prison coding workshop and is currently running a pilot with 32 prisoners at HMP Humber. The training is intense for the prisoners: nine-to-five, every day.

Five years ago Yoomee started a small in-house experiment to teach young offenders to code, but back then we didn’t have the resources to apply the lessons learned. Now we are working with Code4000 who teach prisoners how to code so they can find tech jobs when they are released.

“There’s a…

A couple of years ago I started a series of hack days — now going by the name of Sheffugees — with the aim of somehow benefitting local refugees, refugee organisations and asylum seekers in Sheffield.

During that time I learned some great lessons about how to use hack days to get the best from local tech volunteers, enabling useful software to be designed and built which in turn can make a big social impact on our city.

Lesson 1: Include sector experts

All too often, hack days focus on getting technical people together, but it’s hugely important to have non-technical experts at your hack…

At the beginning of the year I announced it was time for Yoomee to change so we could continue pushing forward with our mission of creating new digital services for vulnerable people. Here's a roundup of what we discovered in 2017.

The agency model is dead

It's time to ditch this dinosaur. The full-service agency model can't keep up with the ever-changing pace of technology. We've done a lot of stuff over the last ten years, and we've changed our team structure many times. But we found that the large team hierarchy that was once key to our success – and had us nicely on…

For the last six months I’ve been focussing on learning all about artificial intelligence powered chatbots and conversational interfaces — and can now help you research, design and prototype new ways of using this futuristic technology for social good.

What are chatbots?

A chatbot is a piece of software designed to simulate realistic human conversations. Chatbots can run on instant messaging platforms, such as Facebook Messenger, can have helpful and involved conversations with people and act as virtual personal assistants.

Gartner predicts that by 2019, 20% of all user interactions on phones will take place via virtual personal assistants with many mobile apps…

I’ve recently been experimenting with Artificial Intelligence (AI) on a couple of exciting new projects and hope to grow this area of my knowledge over the coming months. It’s too early to share the details here yet but I can, however, share some impressive work we did at Yoomee late last year on a project called Elefriends.


For those that don’t know, Elefriends is an online community platform we co-designed and built with Mind to provide peer support for people experiencing mental health problems. Now the UK’s most successful online peer support community, Elefriends has an in-house team of trained…

Last week I had a brilliant day talking about participatory design at the NHS England Digital Development Lab run by mHabitat. Over the years I’ve been involved in many digital projects involving co-design — from Girlguiding to Save the Children.

They asked me to share my thoughts on co-designing services with users, in particular my experience working with vulnerable communities, and specifically building Elefriends — now the UK’s most successful peer support platform for adults struggling with life.

The most important question

As a software engineer, I’m constantly asked if it’s technically possible to build something specific. Nowadays it’s possible to build pretty much…

What sort of future do we want to make for ourselves?

I’ve spent a lot of time figuring out how to make Yoomee a great place to work, and a key part of this is allowing people to spend a proportion of their time investing in their future, aka investment time.

Investment time is all about looking after our future. This is really important to Yoomee, so we can all enjoy working here and be a company that continues to be competitive and interesting to work for.

Investment time is time for investing in ourselves and our company goals and…

Andy Mayer

FRSA. Co-founder @yoomeehq & @SHFDigital. 10+ years experience #tech4good. Now on sabbatical. Volunteer prison chaplain. Disciple of #Jesus #BigLife 🙏🏻 ✝️ 🤟

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