Fijian community invited to attend Catterick workshop

Members of Richmondshire’s Fijian community have been invited to attend a workshop offering support and information.

The event on Monday, November 1 at the Booth Hall, Catterick Village, is being organised by Charity Communities Fiji Britain.

The Talanoa workshop aims to provide a range of support to Fijian military families, including a mobile app to give easy access to help and advice on topics such as immigration and employment.

Communities Fiji Britain works closely with The HIVE to offer support in person and online.

Sophia Lumley, Communities Fiji Britain’s operations director, said: “Moving from Fiji to the UK can be a momentous change, and it can be hard to know where to start when it comes to accessing information to make the most of this new life in the UK.

“Helping people to tackle issues such as immigration and employment from the outset can really assist to make the transition easier.

“Talanoa means ‘inclusive conversation’ in Fijian, and we hope that the workshops will bring together Fijian forces spouses to share stories, build empathy, understand the challenges and find solutions.”

The first Talanoa workshop is taking place on Monday, November 1 at Booth Hall, Catterick Village, from 9.30am to 2.45pm, and will feature:

  • An introduction to Communities Fiji Britain from Operations Director, Sophia Lumley
  • Sereima “Ima” Sugia from Mamara Alliance UK talking about her experiences of moving to the UK with The HIVE
  • A discussion about how the Army Welfare Service can support your forces life
  • CV-building workshop with RFEA Families Employment Advisor, Tanja Allen

There’ll also be a Fijian lunch of chicken palau, roti and curry, with cake from Tai’s Bakes.

Places at the workshop are free, and can be booked by visiting

Tanja Allen, Families Employment Advisor for RFEA, one of the speakers at Talanoa Catterick, said: “RFEA’s Families Programme is led by expert Employment Advisors who, as well as having expert knowledge of the local jobs market, have experienced many of the same challenges as military spouses and partners.

“We are on-hand to support with anything from careers advice to career diagnostics, helping partners and spouses with how to obtain a job by helping know where to look, as well as CV reviews and interview techniques.”

Dr Katrina Talei Igglesden, a Communities Fiji Britain Trustee, said: “We’re pleased to see this exciting Talanoa workshop series begin in Catterick next month.

“We hope that these events are successful in creating an added sense of community for Fijian spouses – new to the UK or not – with additional skills, networks and resources acquired as a result.”