These are informal partnerships formed by private individuals and members of a club or community-based association (sport, cultural activity etc) and involve shared events such competitions, lectures, concerts or simply social activities. Such enthusiasts will have an interest in the culture and/or language of the partner and aim to enrich the life of their own organisation, thereby creating an additional benefit to membership of it.
Organizers should first investigate whether their local council or community groups already have a twinning/partnership arrangement with a town/city in the EU and whether this is active. If so, it is worthwhile linking into this relationship as it will provide ready-made contacts with the overseas partner concerned and allow sharing of practical experience of partnership arrangements rather than starting from scratch.
Whether or not there are existing twinning/partnership arrangements in the local area, the following suggestions may prove useful:
Find the right partner
An informal relationship will be based on a shared activity (music, golf, bridge, art club etc) but consider the relative income of the prospective partner and its members. Geography and ease of access are also important factors.
Ensure that you each have the same understanding and aspirations for the new link. Agree on dates for joint activities. Re-assess the relationship from time to time.
Create an active support group
Appoint at least two people prepared to work as a team to drive the relationship and ensure things happen. The availability of more than one organiser will ensure that there is continuity should the lead organiser withdraw through retirement or other cause.
Develop a budget
Any joint activity is bound to cost some money so ensure there are sufficient funds to run events successfully. The EM has funds under its Building Bridges programme to support partnering initiatives and will consider imaginative and well planned events.
A booth at the Bath Christmas Market was supplied and manned in past years by traders from Bath’s twin towns Alkmaar, Aix-en-Provence, and Braunschweig selling products made in those towns. Although facilitated by the Council, the project was very much run by the traders themselves and so can be regarded as an Informal initiative.
Festival of Europe (festivalofeurope.uk)
The Festival of Europe is a five-year project, with 2022 being the foundation year. It is built on the simple idea that the UK is European geographically and historically and that, despite the fact that the UK has recently left the European Union as a political entity, there is more that unites the peoples of the UK with those on the European continent than divides them. The guiding concept of the Festival of Europe is a celebration of culture in its widest sense, reflecting the diversity of all those for whom the continent of Europe is home.