A Cardiff charity is helping people to talk to their neighbours. How can communication improve the sense of community spirit?
It is a sunny Friday morning at Maes y Coed Community centre, a group of strangers are gathering together to intruduce themselves and share their life stories.
“I’ve been cutting myself off at home, just watching the television and that’s no good for anybody’s wellbeing,” Elizabeth, a lovely British lady with colourful attire explained why she came to the FAN Club.
“so even as old as I am, I made a decision that I mustn’t stay in the house as I have been doing because it’s just makes my life miserable and I must get out more.”
With the chosen talking subject of “Name”, Katherine Kanyeihanba, a lady originally from Uganda, told us an amazing story about her names.
“The names we have, tend to reflect the sentiment of the parents of that time a child was born for example joy, gratitude or even hardship,”
“If I started with my married name, Kanyeihanba, literally translated, it means born in the wild, so my father-in-law who I get the name from was born when his mother was in a wild.”
Cardiff is the capital city of Wales which has an estimated population of 357,000, 10 percent of whom aren’t native to the United Kingdom. With different languages and cultural backgrounds, they struggle to feel a sense of belonging within the community.
Though Katherine has lived in Cardiff for almost ten years, she could still remember the first days when she arrived.
“When I came here, I felt isolated, I did not know anybody. I wish I knew about FAN when I came because it would have been a great opportunity to meet new people.”
The Friends and Neighbours (FAN) charity aims to enhance people’s confidence in the communities by sharing their stories and communicating with each other.
“I think what people get here is an opportunity to practice English and they also get the chance to be listened to, and they can also get friendship from the group.” Said the organizer of the Fan charity, Sarah Jones.
To let more residents feel the love and helps from the community, Katherine also volunteers at the Community as well as for FAN. “It’s not only just meeting people, but also learning about other people’s cultures and experiences.”
Elizabeth had a wonderful time in the FAN club and gained a great encouragement from the conversation with other people.
“I’ve been so surprised about people’s life stories about the bravery, courageous things that people do in their life, which make me feel a bit ashamed of feeling depressed.” said Elizabeth.
Just like the slogan of the Maes Y Coed Community Centre says，”Run by the community, for the community.” As part of the community, we are not alone. Go out, and say hello to your neighbours!