FAN Friends and Facilitators from groups across South Wales got together with Jane Tooby FAN Trustee and Sarah FAN Development Officer to share experiences of FAN across the region. We looked in some detail at the report compiled from the questionnaires that many of you kindly completed before Christmas. 69 questionnaires were completed, 19 by men and 50 by women, the age range of FAN attendees is pretty well spread from 25 to 75 plus and most people attend once a week, 24 countries of origin were represented. It will not be a surprise to find that most people found out about FAN from a personal recommendation - a friend, teacher or religious group, and people came to meet people, make friends, learn English and to know more about different countries and people.
It was wonderful to read the many positive comments - people enjoyed the groups, they were friendly, informal, stimulating and helped to integrate communities. Coming to FAN clearly brought benefits including improved English language skills, confidence, countering loneliness, understanding other people's cultures, making friends and more active in society. Of course there were some negative comments too - group size, noise and length of group in particular. Although FAN groups follows the same Open and Close each FAN group has its own 'personality' and we always hope that there will be a group that suits everyone, but some people only come once - and that FAN is not for them - we discussed ways in which we could overcome this - so that even more people can enjoy attending FAN.
Finally here are some particular comments telling us what FAN means to you:
FAN is one of those social integrators more needed than ever
Helps participants with English and to find out more about different cultures #also recognises similarities#
I‚Äôm very glad being in FAN otherwise I would be very lonely.