This week Warwick hosted an international partnership meeting for its twin and friendship towns.
The town welcomed mayors and representatives of its twin towns of Saumur (France) and Verden (Germany), along with friendship towns of Havelberg (Germany) and Formigine (Italy) for the annual twinning partnership meeting.
Hosted in one of the partner towns each year, the partnership meeting brings town leaders together to discuss and agree joint initiatives that promote international collaboration and culture.
In attendance from Saumur was deputy mayor Veronique Henry, who was accompanied by Caroline Rabault, Saumur’s councillor for international relations, and Amelie Gibouin, assistant for international relations.
Verden was represented by deputy mayor, Johanna Koing, Cllr Barbel Rater, Illaria Massari, manager of partnerships, and Katerina of Verden’s partnership association.
The Mayor of Havelberg, Bernd Poloski was joined by Evelin Bullwan, of Havelberg’s town twinning and Marina Heinrich, head of tourist information.
Representing Formigine was Mayor Maria Sautto and Elisa Parenti.
The delegation was hosted by Warwick Mayor, Cllr Richard Eddy, Cllr Moria-Ann Grainger, chair of the town council’s Community and Culture committee, Cllr Mandy Littlejohn and the Warwick Twinning Association.
Warwick mayor Richard Edd said: “It’s been a privilege to spend time with our counterparts from Saumur, Verden, Havelberg and Formigine and exchange thoughts and ideas to promote the connections and shared values of our towns.
“As we head towards Brexit, continuing the fantastic relations that we enjoy with our international partners will become more important than ever.
“The bonds we share, the work we can do together, and the friendships we can build through our partnerships, are all immensely valuable as the European landscape shifts. This is especially important for young people and was a theme in the productive partnership meeting.”
Prompted by the team from Verden, the partnership meeting discussed introducing e-twinning for schools so that both teachers and pupils can be digitally connected to share language skills over email and video chats.
The meeting also addressed the continuation of the successful Eurocamp initiative. Now in its fourth year, Eurocamp sees four young people from each town travelling to one location to work together on a community, cultural or social project during the summer.
In 2017, Eurocamp was hosted in Formigine, Italy, where the team restyled park furniture in Formigine’s Passion Park by personally decorating them with designs that represented each country’s heritage and culture.
These benches remain in the park as a reminder of Formigine’s international friends.
For 2018, Eurocamp participants will visit and stay in Saumur this summer and collaborate on an environmental project to improve the outdoor facilities on an island in the Loire.
They will be building pathways for people to explore the island, installing outdoor tables and seating, and stringing sails between the trees to create shady spots.
The Warwick team attending Eurocamp were named as Rowan Garwood, Cora-Laine Moynihan, Jessica North and Oliver Webb.
Warwick mayor Richard Eddy, said: “Over the years, I’ve seen Eurocamp become an empowering and engaging experience for Warwick’s young people.
“It’s an experience through which international friendships are formed, where confidence and self-assurance can be built, and I wish this year’s participants from Warwick a thoroughly enjoyable summer in Saumur.”