The Near Neighbours team is always on the lookout for great ideas coming from community groups in Eastern London and all around the as well. We recently heard about the FAN group in Wales and wanted to share a little about them. Read on to find out about an exciting initiative…
It was dusk and I was walking in the rain looking for the venue where the FAN meeting would take place – my first meeting. What exactly FAN was, I did not know but I knew that I was feeling very lonely and I needed company. A week earlier I was given a flyer saying “FAN Group meetings last about an hour and give all people an opportunity to meet in friendship. ANYONE friendly is welcome at a FAN Group. We`d like to meet you! There is no charge for attending. It`s a great way to make new friends!”
I needed very much to make new friends to overcome my loneliness and thought that trying FAN might help. I said to myself “I am a friendly person and I’m sure I will be OK.” That night the meeting was in a church hall. Today I know of FAN Groups that meet at cafes, restaurants, supermarkets, community centres and elsewhere.
FAN is a listening group. People sit in a circle to listen to each other. In turn we talk about ourselves, our week and a chosen subject. People speak only if they wish and the meeting finishes with a closing statement. The topic of the day can vary from pets, nature and childhood to grandparents, food and travelling. Since 2003 in Cardiff more than 1,500 people from 68 different nationalities have attended FAN meetings and had the opportunity to meet local residents who have become friends.
If you want to find your local group, check out www.thefancharity.org or why not start one of your own?