Newbury Twin Town Association, one of the most active town twinning associations in the UK is today (Thursday 29 March), welcoming 62 Europeans to stay to participate in a conference on the theme of immigration, funded by the EU.
The visitors, who will be hosted by local people and Twin Town members, come from Newbury’s four twin towns of Braunfels in Germany, Bagnols-Sur-Cèze in France, Eeklo in Belgium and Feltre in Italy, as well as 2 associated towns, Carcaixent in Spain and Kiskunfélegyháza in Hungary.
On Good Friday the visitors will be attending a conference held at the Phoenix Centre in Newbury on the theme of immigration, which includes a talk from an Oxfam representative on the experience of refugees, interviews with immigrants living in Newbury (including Ugandan Asians, Eastern Europeans and Indians) and a talk from Elena Martinez, the author of a book about the experiences of EU Citizens living in the UK following the Brexit vote. The conference concludes with international discussion about EU immigration, specifically in relation to the UK.
On Saturday the visitors will have a tour of the West Berkshire Museum in Newbury, and a presentation at Newbury Town Hall about the history of immigration in the UK and West Berkshire. The visitors will then prepare a traditional meal with their hosts for the ‘bring and share’ supper at St Georges Church Hall – which will have a very international flavour, including an opportunity to learn Bollywood dancing from an Indian immigrant dance teacher!
There are further events on Easter Sunday, including the international Presidents meeting, discussing future Twinning events, and a traditional Sunday lunch at the Donnington Grove Hotel, followed by a walk and Easter egg hunt.
Newbury Twin Town Association Chairwoman Zita Lang said
“This event has taken many months of planning, but we are excited to invite our friends from Europe to stay in Newbury. Some visitors have been before, but for many this will be their first stay in our town, and I hope they have a really interesting and enjoyable time.”
Vice Chair Gillian Durrant said
“Our European visitors have many questions about Brexit and the impact it will have going forwards. However, we are all keen to ensure that our active Twinning arrangements do not suffer as a result of Brexit, after all Town Twinning started years before the EU came into being, as a means of fostering long term friendships between people from different countries all over Europe.”