Young people from Richmond forging closer ties with Europe

Release Date: 30 November 2017

Eighteen delegates aged 18 to 30 from Richmond upon Thames recently attended a European Youth Conference in Konstanz, Germany to discuss the future make-up of Europe and how twinning can be used to keep Europeans together in a post-Brexit environment.

Richmond is already twinned with Fontainebleau in France & Konstanz in Germany. Delegates from Lodi, in Italy, and Tabor in the Czech Republic, which are also twinned with Konstanz, were also invited.

Richmond Councillors, Jean Loveland and Gareth Roberts, and Richmond in Europe chairman, Alan Mockford, were the guests of honour at a final presentation before 500 invited guests in the historic Konzil building in which the first Konstanzer Konzil took place 600 years ago.

The young delegates identified a number of priorities for action including: a combined website for the five towns; an exchange programme for workers in the towns; a festival pass for young people in the towns; and an exchange programme for refugee children in Germany with the Czech Republic.

Raquel Gracia Lowe, a delegate from Richmond said:

“This was an amazing opportunity for so many young people. I know that everyone was feeling hopeful for a European future regardless of Brexit motions and I believe this is something that is usually extremely hard to inspire. The idea of towns' European associations is very inspiring and productive. I am looking forward to helping with future events with our twin cities, especially as three of the Richmond group and I are actually visiting Tábor in January as part of a social visit!”

Cllr Jean Loveland, who earlier this year cycled from Fontainebleau to Richmond as part of the 40th anniversary of twinning celebrations, said:

“It was hugely encouraging to see so many young people from across Europe enthusiastic about the relationship between our countries and thinking about how we can grow our the bond between our cities moving forward.

“Twinning is a wonderful way to forge bonds with our European friends and I would encourage people around the borough to find out more about how they can keep these links going.”

Cllr Gareth Roberts, Leader of the Liberal Democrats said:

“Brexit represents one of the greatest challenges this country has faced for a generation. It is absolutely vital, therefore, that we retain and cherish our links with our Continental twin towns. What was so heartening was that the enthusiasm and passion for twinning links was so evident among the young people who attended the event; clearly the future of this initiative is safe in their hands.”

Alan Mockford, chairman of the Richmond in Europe Association, which recruited the Richmond delegates, said:

“The aim of our association has always been to bring the people of Europe together. We have seen a surge in membership, particular from young people, following the referendum. The conference provided the perfect opportunity for them to network with 100 young people from five European countries.”

Further information about the conference & Richmond’s twin towns is available from The Richmond in Europe Association.

Notes for editors

If you are a journalist and would like further information about this press release, contact Lyle Skipsey on 020 8487 5182. 

Reference: P557/17

Updated: 1 December 2017