Staff from Community Congolese and Youth Development Education (COCYDE) have been using VAC’s hot-desk and other support services for a long time.
Director, Kiasuka Kiakanda, tells us why this support has been invaluable to the group over the years.
“Our group helps young people and children. We start with behaviour, and if they have problems with maths or English, we can help them with that too. Also, we look at children with different skills, for instance in sports, if someone is skilful in football we train them and push them in football and school. So that’s how we promote our young children and teenagers. We start with children from the age of five until eighteen. Starting at five is good because you have a fresh brain you can start planning.
When we started, too many Congolese children were going too much into a life of crime. At the moment though, VAC is helping us to change that.
Q. How did you become involved with VAC?
I heard about VAC because I live in Camden and all the other organisations I knew also knew about this place, for example, a Slovakian organisation knew about VAC and said VAC could help tell us what to do and what not to do and they give you training if you want to get better governance and how to work as an organisation. They could tell us how an organisation works.
When you set up your organisation VAC will work with you as a partnership. So they will tell you which documents you need, what documents you don’t have. So they help you a lot.
Q. What services have you used and how have you benefited from them?
And again, in a true partnership you can use their hot desk. One day you have four hours and another day another four, so in the week you get eight hours using their hot desk. It depends how you want to manage things but we are using it for eight hours at the moment. The hot-desking is also photocopying and telephone as well as the computer. Before the hot desk we couldn’t get in touch with different organisations. So we can call people outside now. It’s a change, a big change.
There was another organisation, a black equality group, and along with VAC they were helping people like us. But that group is finished now, they closed it. So we cannot allow this to happen to VAC. Because if VAC is not there, many organisations will be having problems. VAC helps new groups and existing groups as well.
VAC is a big organisation. They have all different types of services. They can do your budget as well, that sort of thing. They’ve been doing that for us. Again, if you have problems with things like funding then VAC can help you with that as well. VAC is helping us with a lot of things. They gave us all those training skills so we could go for that. In the case of the budget, they helped us look at how much we get and how much we spent. They helped us with those calculations at the end of the year.
Kiasuka Kiakanda, Director of COCYCDE, talking about use of VAC’s hot-desk and other support services.