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.
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
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
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.
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
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