Wellington Town Council first linked up with Châtenay-Malabry, about seven miles southwest of Paris, in 1998, and a Twinning Charter was signed two years later, with regular visits and events since then.
But town councillor Anthony Lowe told colleagues the Twinning Association chairman and treasurer had both resigned recently, so it was trying to recruit new members and hoped to “inject a bit of new life”.
He added that a group from Châtenay were due to visit next summer, the day after the 70th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation, and households would be to take them in for the weekend.
Speaking to the Events and Communications Committee, Cllr Lowe admitted the Twinning Association “isn’t as lively as it has been in the past”, and said “it is my task, as the councillor most involved, to build up a bit of interest not just among councillors but among the people of Wellington”.
He added that the two resignations were “unfortunate”.
“We have an acting chair, Mrs Laurence Moses, who is a dual national and is doing a very good job and it may well be that she is confirmed as chair at the next AGM,” Cllr Lowe said.
“In the meantime, we’re very keen to engage with the people of Wellington and, to that end, we have drafted a questionnaire to existing members and councillors to have some feedback on what you feel we ought to be doing in the coming period.”
The survey also aimed to “get feedback on what residents and councillors feel could be done to inject a bit of new life into the Twinning Association”, he added.
Cllr Lowe added that they were looking for host families for the two-night visit next summer.
“I know it’s a big ask but the fact is, if we don’t get host families, it’s very difficult to welcome our friends in the way we would wish to,” he said.
The alternative – sending the visitors to hotels or B&Bs – went against the spirit of twinning, he said.
“There is no financial cost to host families, except maybe shared meals in your house,” Cllr Lowe said.
“Any outings will be paid for by the Association, which is supported by the town council.
“All the people who are members of the Association in France speak good or excellent English. There is absolutely no requirement for anyone to speak in French, unless they choose to.”
He said a notice would be placed in the free This Is Our Wellington magazine in the new year.