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.
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
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)
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