About Twinning

What is Twinning?

Twinning is a special relationship between local authorities or communities in different countries, within which their citizens have an opportunity to make contact and get to know each other, develop understanding and friendship, and exchange visits.

How can I get involved?

Very easily. During the year there are several social events which members of the association attend. Every year there is a Twinning Conference in each of the three countries involved on rotation. Every third year we host the conference in Devizes. We need families to host our guests from our Twin Towns. This involves looking after a couple or perhaps young people for the weekend, feeding the, taking them round the various activities and being generally hospitable. You don't have to speak another language although it would help considerably if you did! For the other years you get the opportunity to visit the other Twin Towns with the similar reciprocal arrangements.

How did Twinning begin?

No doubt there have long been special relationships between places having a common interest or link. But Twinning in the modern sense began after World War II, when there was a conscious effort of national and local governments to take steps to heal the wounds and sow the seeds for a better and more peaceful world.

How did Devizes become linked with Mayenne and Waiblingen?

In 1960 the Borough Council received an enquiry from the Association of Municipal Corporations as to a possible link with a town in France. The Council agreed that a link should be established and, after various enquiries, the first twinning ceremony with Mayenne took place in Devizes in May 1963. The following year a delegation from Devizes visited Mayenne for the second Twinning ceremony and whilst there, met representatives from Waiblingen, who had by now twinned with Mayenne. This Franco-German link had grown out of a friendship that had sprung up between a German prisoner-of-war and his French camp commandant. Following the meeting between the English and German representatives, the Borough Council agreed to explore the possibility of a further link with Waiblingen. The enquiries proved fruitful and the formal twinning ceremony between Devizes and Waiblingen took place in Devizes in April 1966 - thus completing a rare "ring-link" (many towns and cities have more than one foreign partner, but it is not common for these foreign partners to be twinned with each other).

What does the Twinning Association do?

The DEVIZES & DISTRICT TWINNING ASSOCIATION was formed by volunteers shortly after the completion of the link with Waiblingen 1967. As its Constitution states, "the Association aims to foster, by all means, friendship between the neighbourhoods of Devizes, Mayenne and Waiblingen". It is now responsible for the organisation of the visits to the meetings held in each of the twin towns in rotation and the Twinning Weekend in Devizes. In addition, the Association endeavours, through its links with the Twinning Associations in Mayenne and Waiblingen, to arrange individual and group exchanges, and to assist local organisations and associations to establish contact with similar groups in the twin-towns. The Association also arranges various social events for its members, some of which are also fund-raising events, to raise the necessary finance for the Association's operations.

How much does Twinning cost the local council tax payer?

The short answer is 'very little'. In Devizes, every person who visits a twin-town does so at his own expense - the only exceptions being the few delegates who represent the local authorities at the Conference which is part of the annual Twinning Meeting.
Kennet District Council allocates a grant to the DEVIZES & DISTRICT TWINNING JOINT MANAGEMENT COMMITTTEE, which mainly goes towards school twinning activities in the district. In addition to Devizes, this sum is also drawn on by Marlborough, Ludgershall, Market Lavington and Pewsey schools and other Youth groups for their exchanges.
Devizes Town Council gives the TWINNING ASSOCIATION a grant as it is the Association which carries out nearly all the organisation on behalf of the town.