On the Trail of the EU Grant
This year we had a shake up of Twinning in Bridgwater. We agreed that we have 6 twin towns. 4 official ones and 2 that we’re working on. We decided to target the EU and it’s attractive funding and training packages and to do this in co-operation with our key partners around Europe by identifying projects and people who would benefit from them.
If it's June it must be another cultural-awareness-raising-English-language-practising-on-tour-residential
In 1992 Bridgwater twinned with Uherske Hradiste…but it was a close run thing as at the same town the South Bohemian town of Ceske Budejovice also made a similar request. That’s how popular we were. We had of course already committed to UH so on June 18th that year we became the first British Czech post velvet revolution twinning. But that didn’t stop the boys and girls from Budvar keeping up their Bridgy link. Every year since then they’ve sent over their students on tour programmes which we’ve called ‘Practice your English in England’. The main conspirator in all this is English teacher and anglophile Eva Kordova and this year naturally they came again.
Clarinets, Klezmer, Cider and Cheese as Czechs and Italians Choose Continental Co-operation
It was a funny time to visit Britain. Everywhere you looked a party calling itself the ‘UK Independence Party’ had put up posters vilifying foreigners for ‘coming over here’, claiming Rumanians were largely criminals and suggesting the ferries, flights and foot passages were full of foreign benefit scroungers. You’d be forgiven for thinking foreigners might feel a little unwelcome, that ‘little Englander’ was a badge of honour and that Europe had some ancient Britanosaurus around it’s neck.
Italian Twinning Backed by new Mayor as Bridgwater College students visit Priverno
February 2014 and Sedgemoor's floods are global news. Sitting on the plane heading from Bristol to Rome I spotted a copy of my neighbours 'Daily Mail'."Any news about the flooding?" I asked."Only more nonsense from that idiot MP" said the lady from Cheltenham. So Bridgwater was making it's mark again - well done Mr Liddell-Grainger. Not.
EASTOVER 'AKROPOLIS' PROJECT
Our second major EU funded project of the year saw 13 Family Centre and related workers from our Czech twin town Uherske Hradiste and it's environs spend 2 weeks in Bridgwater to study social inclusion in the Eastover ward. Well, some of them spent a bit of that time in Worcester studying the Snoezelen project, but they were all here for carnival.
SEDGEMOOR & UHERSKE HRADISTE - THE PLANNERS COMPARE NOTES
Early in 2013 Bridgwater's twin town of Uherske Hradiste gained European funding to help it's workforce investigate Local Government practices in their EU Partner towns. From Mayen in Germany they chose to study the Education system, from Priverno in Italy they looked at Tourist and the Museum service and in Bridgwater they looked at Town Planning and the Environment.
Somerset Ambassadors of Song Sing Out Across the Danube
A few years back, natural voice practitioner Yvette Staelens founded the Voice of the People Choir at the Bridgwater Arts Centre to help people find the singing voice that she believes everyone has inside them. For almost as long, we have taken these musical ambassadors to the four corners of Europe to meet other singers and prove that songs, smiles and a cheery disposition are universal.