International Reunion 2016
International Reunion meeting of the 7 networked towns – 8th to 12th September 2016
The 2016 international reunion of the twins towns took place in Newbury, from the 8th to 12th September. The meeting involved over 170 people from 8 countries. The project ‘A debate on The Future of Europe following the UK referendum on EU membership’ was funded with the support of the European Union under the Programme “Europe for Citizens” under project number 576104-CITIZ-1-2016-1-UK-CITIZ
Brief overview of the weekend
The 08/09/2016 was dedicated to the arrival and allocation of guest with host families.
The 09/09/2016 was dedicated to the project discussion, shared meal, tea at a historic house and a radio broadcast including representatives from the visiting towns.
The 10/09/2016 was dedicated to a discussion and other activities for the young visitors (aged 16 to 25). All other visitors and their hosts had a free day to explore the local area together. In the evening the Mayor of Newbury hosted a meal for the visiting town representatives and the Newbury Twin Town Association President hosted a meal for the Presidents from the other towns.
The 11/09/2016 was dedicated to a meeting for the Twin Town Presidents to plan future events. This was followed by a group meal for all participants and then a countryside walk. In the evening a farewell meeting was held at the local Royal British Legion.
The 12/09/2016 saw to the departure of visitors.
The towns involved in the project were Newbury, UK (75 hosts and 16 helpers), Braunfels,Germany (14 visitors), Bagnols-sur-Cèze, France (18 visitors), Carcaixent, Spain (8 visitors), Eeklo, Belgium (19 visitors), Feltre, Italy (12 visitors) and Kiskunfélegyháza, Hungary (6 visitors) and Prisacani and Tomesti, Romainia (3 visitors). The total number of participants including hosts was 171.
A discussion on the impact of the UK Referendum debate on the future of the European Project
This took place at the Newbury Methodist Church on 09/09/2016. The aim of the event was to discuss the impact on the future of Europe of the decision of the majority of UK voters to leave the EU. Information on the reasons why the UK held a referendum was distributed. A visual power point presentation outlining the reasons why the UK voted to leave the EU was given by the Newbury Twin Town Association President. The group then split into 7 sub-groups by language. Each group was presented with 10 EU statements and had to individually ‘score’ each statement depending on how strongly they agreed or disagreed with each one. Each statement was then discussed in the group. The average score for each statement and for each town and for the towns as a whole was calculated and presented back to the whole group in the final part of the workshop.
This took place in the Newbury Market Place on 09/09/2016. Representatives from each town set up a stall offering produce from their towns to the visitors, hosts and members of the public. This event increased the visibility of the project to members of the public. The local MP was also present to meet representatives from the visiting towns.
This took place at the town hall on 10/09/2016. The aim of the event was a youth meeting to discuss the impact of the referendum decision on young people and the issues highlighted by this decision. The meeting started with an introductory ‘ice-breaker’ session in order that the participants could get to know each other. This was followed by a video about the EU, a quiz to test knowledge about the EU and a discussion on the future of Europe for young people following the UK decision to leave the EU. This was followed by a group meal and group activities for the rest of the day.
This took place in Newbury, UK between 09/09/2016 and 11/09/2016. Newbury Twin Town Association started a photographic project on 01/01/2016 entitled ‘Where I Live’ with the aim to create an archive of photographs taken in Newbury and its twin towns that would show what life was like in 2016. All inhabitants of each town (in addition to Twin Town members) were encouraged to be involved in the project. Photographs were uploaded to the website www.lavidaphoto.eu. A selection of photographs from each town were used to create banners that were displayed in Victoria Park, Newbury, during the weekend. The visitors and their hosts were encouraged to visit the banners and they were also visible to the general public.
Meeting of the Association Presidents
This took place at The Town Hall in Newbury on 11/09/2016. This was a meeting of the Presidents of the associations to discuss present and future projects and meetings. The meeting was also an opportunity for representatives from the ‘West Berkshire Stronger Together’ group to make a presentation to the meeting that expressed their disappointment at the results of the UK Referendum and their desire to maintain the strong links between West Berkshire and the other countries in Europe.
This took place at a local Newbury hotel on 11/09/2016. The visitors, hosts and civic dignitaries met for a traditional Sunday dinner. This event was an opportunity for the embroidered banner of the associations, created by Newbury in 2009 and passed each year to the International Reunion host town, to be passed to representatives from Braunfels in anticipation of the next International Reunion in 2017.
This took place at The Royal British Legion in Newbury, UK on 11/09/2016. The aim of the event was to promote informal discussions between the hosts and visitors on the theme of the weekend prior to the departure of the visitors.
Visit to a historic house
This took place on 09/09/2016. The participants of the weekend visited to a local historic house which was followed by an afternoon English tea. The group visited Shaw House and were given an introduction to the house by the House Manager.
The radio broadcast took place in Newbury, UK on 09/09/2016 on the local radio station ‘Kennet Radio’.
Representatives from each town were interviewed by the presenter about their towns and their countries. This was an opportunity to explain to the listeners the purpose of the Twin Town visit and promote the project.
Evening Meal for the Town Hall Representatives
This event took place in Newbury, UK on 10/09/2016. The civic meal was hosted by the mayor of Newbury for the visiting civic dignitaries. Similarities and differences between the towns were discussed and further opportunities for closer collaboration were reviewed.
Evening Meal for the Twin Town Presidents
This took place in Newbury, UK on 10/09/2016. This was a meal for the Presidents of the associations. A review of the weekend activities, plus planning for future events was discussed.