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Hi! My name is Helena Stakounis and I began Language Café in February 2010. At first, I started the school because I had studied and lived abroad and so I learned how important and necessary it is to have a support network when you are away from your country. I felt that the formal environment of most schools did not offer what most students need when they are abroad – a home away from home.
In the beginning, I taught students privately in their home before finally managing to take a small office in the Angel centre, a local community centre on Chapel Street, Salford. There, I found a wonderful community and was able to see how it was possible for international students to integrate with local people.
At the Angel, group classes began in the evenings and I used to hire the café by the hour, hence fixing the name of Language Café. In November 2010, through a lot of luck and the determination of a number of students, we managed to secure financial guarantees from one of the international embassies, which allowed us to take the beautiful building at Bexley Square.
After a great start, and in a very ambitious moment, we decided to try for British Council accreditation and in September 2011, thanks to the incredible support of the students and the hard work of my mum, we gained accreditation with points of excellence.
It must be said that, the establishment of Language Café would not have been possible without the amazing support of my family and most of all, the students. This truly has been a team effort and I would like to thank each and every person who helped and encouraged me in this project. Language Café exists today because of an amazing group of people who shared my dream to create a space where people of all nationalities could come together in a friendly and open atmosphere to learn quality lessons about language and other cultures. "Viva Language Cafe!" as the students often say.