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Membership

Membership Is open to everyone of all ages and of all interests. We welcome new members, irrespective of age, circumstances or knowledge of French. Do you wish to make new friends, either locally or in France? Do you have children and wish to broaden your family's experiences and develop language skills - all in a friendly and informal atmosphere? If so joining a Twinning Association could just be the thing for you!

Membership shall be open to all persons in sympathy with the aims of the Association. It is not restricted to residents of the parish of Rotherfield, and several of our members live in nearby towns and villages. There is no requirement to speak French or any other foreign language, but those with a willingness to learn and improve will benefit most from membership. There is no obligation to participate in our activities. Please refer to our our "FAQ" below.

Note that members are automatically invited to join our autumn walking weekends.

Membership is £12.50 per annum for a single person, £25 for a couple or family. Associations may join too. For example, sports organisations could organise exchange visits at the same time as group twinning visits or independently.

If you wish to make further enquiries, please contact any member or officer (see contacts)

A membership application form (pdf) can be downloaded here.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are the benefits to me if I twin with Saint-Chéron people?

You will be welcomed warmly and informally to stay in a French home for a few days. Staying with people rather than in a hotel enables you to discover what France is really like.

What if I can't speak French?

Whilst some knowledge is useful, it is certainly not essential. Our existing members on both sides of the Channel have very mixed abilities, but there are always some members on both sides who are willing and able translate for the non-speakers.

If you are interested in learning French we are in contact with a French nationality teacher, Martine, in Crowborough who offers courses: fees for the 10 weekly sessions of the course are £90pp (when taken in a group of 4). To book a place in a group of 4 or to enquire about 1-2-1 or 1-2-2 tuition, please phone 01892 66 32 32.

How do I travel to Saint-Chéron?

Coach travel would be members' preferred option but is only feasible if we can fill a coach, otherwise we share cars when convenient, sharing costs between us. Eurostar and flights from Gatwick are also options which members take. You can take the Eurostar to central Paris from St Pancras or Ebbsfleet and then catch a suburban train to Saint-Chéron.

If I join the Twinning Association am I expected to go to France?

Of course, we hope you will want to! However, we have some members who, for various reasons, are unable to but they belong because they support the principle of twinning and want to support the association's activities in Rotherfield. Some members prefer to join our walking holidays which visit different areas of France.

Am I expected to host people from Saint-Chéron?

We hope you will want to and feel able to. Most people like to return hospitality even if they need to inconvenience themselves a little to do so. However, sometimes illness or genuine lack of space does prevent people returning hospitality. Some who have been unable to host have invited some with whom they have stayed for a meal in their home, in a pub or a restaurant, or taken them out for a visit.

How often do twinning visits take place?

Full Association visits, one year here, one year there (normally in May) with as many visits and hostings in between as you wish. Indeed some members prefer individual trips once introductions have been made.

Is financial assistance ever available towards transport costs?

If our funds permit, assistance requested in confidence can be given, especially for children.

Will I only be with French people all the time if I go to Saint-Chéron as I don't speak much French?

No, some whole group activities are arranged during a visit. Hosts may invite other French and English people, family or friends who speak English for a meal.

Can I keep the same twins in France?

Yes, of course. Some people who went in 1986 are now firm friends and often visit each other independently.

Suppose I don't like my host?

Then ask the chairman to change twins for your next time.

Are there official Parish Council visits to Saint-Chéron?

No, but parish councillors have hosted and visited as private individuals.

Are there specialised visits?

Yes, for example, there is a regular walking weekend each September, somewhere in England one year and France the next. There are other opportunities for exchanges between social and sporting groups.

What activities are there in Rotherfield in addition to hosting French people?

Social ones in order to raise funds and these events have the extra benefit of getting to know others in Rotherfield and environs.

Does local government contribute money towards the twinning?

No, all funds are voluntarily raised.

Do I have to live in Rotherfield?

No, we have members who live some miles beyond Rotherfield's boundary. Some of our members have even moved to France to live.