We want FAN Groups in villages and towns of every country so that any local person or newcomer to the area can find a FAN Group and be sure of meeting a friendly face...

Meet FAN friends

Who comes to a FAN meeting?

We see a large number of people attending FAN Groups – men and women, young and old, of many countries, cultures and beliefs

We would like to introduce you to some of them and what they get from FAN.

Ondřej Ponížil

August 2018

Hello. My name is Ondřej Ponížil. I am from the Czech Republic.

I am staying in Cardiff this summer and I am studying English in language school during the week and travelling around at weekends. My favourite places in Cardiff are Roath Park and Bute Park with the Castle. I also like the big focus in the city on sporting events. I have been to rugby, football and cricket matches in my short time here.

I was told about FAN Group by my classmates in the language school.

I enjoy the meetings because I like listening to the ideas and thoughts of people with different cultures, religions and life styles. Every meeting shows me a new way of thinking and I leave healthily confused but stimulated! The FAN meeting is also a place where you can find company and make new friends in a new city.

Mumtaz Jan

August 2018

Hello, my name is Mumtaz Jan.

I enjoy going to the Fan Group at Grangetown Pavilion as I like meeting new people. It is a great experience listening to everyone’s unique stories.

This Fan Group gives me plenty of opportunities to make new friends and form positive relationships. I always look forward to the meetings. I enjoy studying new subjects and creating interesting arguments. This way everyone has a chance to put forward their opinion.

I really recommend FAN Group for everyone.

Francedy Conde

July 2018


My name is Francedy Conde. I am French and I come from Paris. I have got a few years of experience as a financial auditor. I need to be fluent in English to communicate in a variety of situations with customers, business partners, colleagues,... That is why, a few months ago, I came to Cardiff to improve and develop my English skills.

Why Cardiff? The Welsh people are well-known for their friendliness. I find the City of Cardiff amazing, peaceful and safe. Here, people are really friendly.

One day, a friend of mine recommended FAN Groups, which help to bring together people of all ages and backgrounds in a spirit of friendship and living together.

FAN meetings are an opportunity to share a human experience and share a part of our life. I believe that life is better with living together in the spirit of friendship.

Sihan Ni

June 2018


I’m Sihan Ni, a student of Cardiff University. I come from Suzhou, one of the ancient cities in Southern China.

After living here a few months, I feel Cardiff is quite peaceful and historical, which is ideal for students. The natural landscape around the city is definitely worth visiting. I have enjoyed a lot living in Cardiff.

When I first came to Cardiff last year, I searched for more chances to practice my oral English skills with native speakers. Bangarang! I found FAN groups here. Gill, Ian, Sarah welcomed and encouraged me very kindly. In such an hour, I’m glad to meet people from different cultural backgrounds and listen to their stories.

I must say thank you to all the FAN Group members. So nice to meet you in Cardiff.

Carol Elliott

June 2018


My name is Carol and I am English. I moved to Cardiff in 2016, but I didn't know anyone here except my daughter, who works full-time. I started helping at a drop-in centre for asylum-seekers and refugees, and a young Iranian refugee told me about FAN groups. He went to FAN to improve his English and to meet local people. I went along to the Saturday group and I've been going ever since! I like to go to some of the other groups too, when I can, and I encourage other people to come along.

You can meet people, make friends and learn some really interesting things about people from around the world, all through going to a FAN group regularly. I think listening to other people talk makes you understand more about the world and how we all get along, or disagree.

Sometimes it's hard for older people like me to get to know other people, even in a friendly city like Cardiff, but FAN puts you in touch with people of all ages and backgrounds. Now I feel like I belong in Cardiff, mainly thanks to the friends I've made in FAN.

Jing Wang

June 2018


My name is Jing Wang and I’m from Shanghai, China. I came to Cardiff in September 2017 to study and now I’m a postgraduate student in Cardiff Business School.

Cardiff is a peaceful city with comfortable weather, I love living here because people are very friendly and there are various interesting activities for young people. I like Cardiff also because I can meet new friends from different countries here and find many Asian restaurants when I miss Chinese food.

I heard about FAN Group from my friend and then I searched it for more information on Facebook.

I like FAN Group because it provides a comfortable atmosphere for talking and sharing. During every week’s discussion, everyone is encouraged to present their opinions freely and show respect when being a listener. As the members of FAN Group are from different countries with diverse life experience, it is enjoyable for me to listen to their views about a specific topic and know more about different cultures. Sometimes I may feel lonely due to studying abroad, but I have had a good time through FAN Group’s weekly talk. I’m really appreciate that I have joined FAN Group and met many lovely friends here, hope more people will join this warm charity in the future.

Margaret Hancock

May 2018


My name in Margaret Hancock.

I was born in Ebbw Vale, an industrial town at the head of the Ebbw Valley.

I studied German in Birmingham and at a German university, and afterwards came to Cardiff to work in a Girl’s Grammar School.

I have two children and two grandchildren and at the moment they all live in Cardiff – which I love and regard as a big ‘village’.

I started coming to FAN shortly after Gill Saunders had the brilliant idea of founding it in 2003.

I really enjoy the meetings as there are people from so many backgrounds and cultures. It’s particularly nice to hear the stories and views of other cultures and generations.

Albanery Castagna

May 2018


My name is Albanery Castagna. I was born in Colombia South America.

I came to the UK when I met my new family 15 years ago.

Cardiff is my favourite city with the friendly people, the river crossing the city, the parks, the cycle ways. I like that the city is not too big.

A friend introduced me to the FAN Group in 2015. At the beginning I was attending different groups each week, especially Canton Library and now Cardiff Central Library.

FAN Group is multicultural, sociable, and friendly. I have the opportunity to learn more English and to meet new friends from the UK and from other countries around the world.

Raymond Harries

May 2018


My name is Raymond Harries. I am  aged 70 and am now retired.  I was born in Swansea, Wales, and brought up  in Riverside, Cardiff. I went to school and college in Cardiff, where I worked in accountancy for 15 years before going to London for 15 years, where I worked as a barrister and arbitrator. I returned to Cardiff to care for my disabled sister.

I particularly like the city because of all the cultural  events taking place. Cardiff also has a fine shopping centre, extensive parks, and good health services.

I found out about FAN from my niece and a friend who is a member.

FAN Groups are based in different venues across the city and different times throughout the week and bring together a diverse range of interesting  people of all ages and backgrounds. The meetings are particularly patronised by overseas students and other young people, and by retirees like myself. Everyone attending is so friendly that I look forward to the meetings over tea/coffee. The meetings are free and it is a treat to hear the contributions from people from different countries.

Daniel Kim

May 2018


My name is Daniel Kim. I am from South Korea.

I came to Cardiff as a visiting academic for one year.

I like Cardiff very much because it is a safe place and near the sea. I can go to the Bay whenever I want with my  bike.

I found out about FAN at the local library.

FAN is like an oasis in a desert to me because I came here alone and would have had no one to talk to, but for FAN. I am really grateful to FAN for giving me opportunities to meet the wonderful people living here.

Andreia Carvalho

May 2018


My name is Andreia Carvalho.

I was born in Vila Nova de Famalicão, Portugal.

I came to Cardiff because my husband found a job opportunity here.

I love Cardiff because it is a beautiful and safe city, where there are multiple services and opportunities for study and work. The people are very polite and friendly.

I found out about FAN Group, because I watched their meetings when I went to the Canton Library.

What I like most about FAN Group is that it is an environment of respect, confidentiality and friendship in which you can learn new skills and improve your English.

Barbara Beynon

May 2018


My name is Barbara Beynon. I was born in Cardiff in Wales and have lived here all my life. I am now 75 years old.

I love the city. It has loads to offer for all – whatever their age and whatever their background.

I heard about FAN from its founder Gill Saunders. I attended the 1st meeting of a FAN Group at the M.A.D.E. café and craft store in Roath.

FAN Group meetings offer an opportunity to meet and enjoy the company of lovely people of all ages and from many countries. It gives me great pleasure.

Mogdad Abdeen

May 2018


My name is Mogdad, I am a 26 year old engineer. Originally from Sudan, a country which has a combination of Arabic & African cultures.

Since I settled in Cardiff in early 2016, I have been working & studying in this vibrant capital of Wales. I even consider it as my home. What I like most about Cardiff is the multiculturalism, where you find yourself surrounded by kind, friendly and open-minded people from all over the world.

The first time I heard of FAN was by chance recommendation from a friend of mine who had experienced some of their meetings. Then a few days later I joined the FAN meeting in the Cardiff Central Library.

I am always impressed by the atmosphere at FAN meetings. I get to share and interact with diverse people from various cultures and nations. Also, people gather together to discuss such fascinating topics.

No doubt FAN Group has assisted in shaping my thinking and provided me with a magnificent inspiration. Diolch!

David Nicholls

May 2018


My name is David Nicholls. I was born in 1933 in Sutton in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire in England. It was work that brought me to Cardiff in 1973.

Late 2008 I was introduced to Space4U, a drop-in centre for asylum seekers and refugees in Newport Road, Cardiff, and became a volunteer.

At the time there was a FAN Group there as one of their activities, and I soon became a regular attendee of the FAN Group. As l learned more about FAN, it's origins, history, aims and attended other FAN Groups, the more I liked it. I became treasurer of the charity.

I see it as a great organisation for helping community integration.

Simon Grajer

May 2018

My name is Simon Grajer. I am 20 years old and was born in a small village near Weiden in the North East of Bavaria in Germany. Since I started studying I live in Passau in the very South East of Germany.

I came to Cardiff to study law for one academic year within the Erasmus+ programme for European exchange students at Cardiff University. I enjoy my studies and the life here in Cardiff very much and don´t regret my decision to go abroad. It is an amazing experience!

The first time I heard of FAN was at a reception for Erasmus students in Cardiff Central Library, where Ian and Sarah presented FAN to the international students. A few weeks later I joined the FAN meeting in the Central Library. I always liked the great variety of nations and cultures that come together to have a peaceful and interesting discussion. FAN helped me to broaden my mind.

Thank you, FAN, for being such an enrichment for my Erasmus-year.

Susana Zinoni

August 2017


My name is Susana Zinoni

I was born in Parana, Argentina but lived for many years in Santander, Spain.

I am living in Cardiff because my husband came to work here.

I love Cardiff -  most of all for its friendly people. Also, the parks and the cultural and sporting activities.

I learnt about FAN through a leaflet I came across.

FAN is a multicultural group, people from all over the world come to meet and share their thoughts and ideas. The diversity at a FAN Group meeting makes it interesting. I also like the fact that it encourages friendship.

Fawaz Alzabari

August 2017


My name is Fawaz Alzabari.  I am 24 years old.  I am a Muslim. I am from Saudi Arabia (officially called the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – KSA), specifically from a small city called Najran from the south west of the country.

I have been in Cardiff since April 2017.  I am an engineer and I am here to prepare to start a Master’s Degree.  At this time I am studying on an English language course.

I like Cardiff. There are many things to do with friendly people who live here and who like to help people like me from another country.  I also like Cardiff  because it has a lot of international people to share with them your culture and to learn about their culture.

I found out about FAN Group from information given to me by a friend. I like FAN because I can practice and improve my language, and also to meet native speakers and people from other countries.  I have noticed the change in myself in speaking and understanding from my first FAN meeting in May 2017 until now ... thank you FAN Group and to those who work for this charity!

  Donate to FAN

You can now show your support for The FAN Charity by donating to us via the Charities Aid Foundation.

  Great news!

Big Lottery Support!

The Big Lottery has awarded £59k to the FAN Charity to increase the geographic reach of FAN.

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  MBE Award!

MBE accepted

MBE accepted on behalf of everyone who supports FAN Groups.

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  Recognition Award!

Welsh Assembly Government Recognition Award 2010

Award accepted on behalf of The FAN Charity and for all those who attend FAN Meetings.

Read more