What's it all about?
 

Well to start with, it's not about junkets for councillors paid for by the council-tax payer. Everything we do is funded by us as an association through our fund-raising events and our membership fees. We have no public funding and we pay for our own air-fares when we go to Chassieu.

It all started off in 1982 when the towns of Coleshill and Chassieu (near Lyon in France) became officially twinned.  Over the years since then we have seen reciprocal visits by pupils from Coleshill School and Chassieu College, the junior rugby teams of the two towns and of course the towns' bands and various other groups.  The main focus of our activity is though the visits between us and the folk in our twin town. We visit each other every other year. This year, we went to Chassieu and next year, 2010, they will visit us once more.
 
So what happens on these visits? I suppose that most people who have been involved would speak of the warmth of the welcome, the visits to so many different places of interest (see the report on this year's trip) and of course the putting on of weight.

Essentially, this is an activity which is based on being welcomed into the homes of the members of the association in the other twin town - and the emphasis is very much on the word welcome.

But isn't it scary? Well yes, just a little bit at first if you're going to stay with someone you don't know, but the warmth of the welcome is invariably such that the nerves disappear very quickly indeed.

 

Do you need to speak French in order to take part? Amongst our members you will find a range of people - from those who speak no French at all to those who speak it fluently. And on the French side there is a similar range of ability. What we do as associations is arrange for people to stay with people with whom they will be able to communicate. So if you can speak no French then you will not find yourself staying with someone who speaks no English.

That is not to say that communication will be effortless, but making yourself understood is part of the fun of the experience.  And if you do want to learn French, then this is one of the best ways of doing it! A number of us speak (as it were) from experience.

 

When the French come over here, is it possible for non-hosting members to take part in the activities we arrange?  Certainly.  The more the merrier.  From our funds, we pay for the French to go to see whatever we have arranged during the time they are here and we pay for the lunches for them while we are out on these visits.  As members, though, we pay for ourselves to go on the trips and, of course, for any meals involved.

For those hosting a French family, they would be your guests and you would be expected to provide all meals not provided during the day trips.  We often get together for evening meals with friends from the association which means that it can turn into a bit of a party.  But then, twinning is not a serious actiivty.  We only do it because we enjoy ourselves.

So why not come along to one (or more) of our events and get to know us? Then perhaps you might have the confidence to get to know someone from Chassieu as well...

P.S. To see the list of our committee members and their contact details, click here

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