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Buxtons' Zink Project sends six people to twin town

A joint project between Buxton Bad Nauheim Twinning Association and The Zink Project saw six people from the High Peak visit their German twin town to volunteer at local charities.

The visit was organised to give participants who hadn’t previously had the chance, the opportunity to experience life and work in a foreign country. They undertook tasks in a kindergarten, community orchard, garden, elderly persons’ day centre and built a website for a community group.

The idea of twinning started after World War Two; towns from different (usually European) countries are twinned in order to foster good relations, to learn from and support each other. Two visitors from Germany recently volunteered in Buxton, at Zink and at the leisure centre. Paul Bohan, CEO of Zink who accompanied the volunteers explained why these kind of exchanges are important:

“As well as generating international friendships, visitors get to experience the culture and daily life of a foreign country. It’s very different to a holiday and, through volunteering, we get to give something long lasting to the community of our twin town.”

Funding for the trip was hard to come by as it is usually targeted at university students. Hays Travel Foundation, Buxton for Youth, Vernon Robert Bowmer Trust, Churchhouse Trust and Southall Trust all pitched in to make the trip possible and High Peak Borough Council helped out through the UK Government’s Shared Prosperity Fund to promote Buxton to community leaders in Bad Nauheim.

Aurora Dakara, one of the participants said, “I was amazed at the warm welcome we received and how lovely the people of Bad Nauheim were to us. I’ve never been abroad before so to live as part of the community of our twin town was eye opening. I’ll never forget this experience.”

Sheffield University are undertaking a study of the impact of the foreign work experience project on employability and wellbeing. It is hoped that once this is known, funders will be more likely to consider similar opportunities for people who are mid career as a learning experience.

There are plans to repeat the project later in the year. To find out more about Zink, who organised the project visit www.zink.org.uk. There’s more information about Buxton’s twinning at buxtonbadnauheim.com.


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