Scottish towns urged to apply for domestic twinning programme

Councillor Ron Smith with Hawicks twin town sign, Bailleul
Councillor Ron Smith with Hawicks twin town sign, Bailleul
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Scottish towns are being urged to apply to a new domestic twinning programme to boost their local economies.

The twinning concept grew after the Second World War to promote cultural and commercial ties around the world, and it is being recreated across the UK as a way for councils to work together more closely.

Towns with a population under 80,000 - such as Inverness, Perth, Paisley, East Kilbride, and Hawick - are being encouraged to submit applications to the Carnegie UK Trust, which has launched the twinning scheme to support matched funding, shared knowledge and the creation of an economic development plan for local areas.

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The charity said the scheme will see 10 towns across the UK with similar characteristics or challenges paired to share ideas and boost growth.

Scottish towns and cities have established hundreds of twin town relationships around the world over the years, such as Falkirk with Creteil, in northern France, Kirkcaldy with Ingolstadt, in southern Germany, and Livingston with Grapevine, in Texas, US.

Head of development at the Carnegie UK Trust Jim Metcalfe said: “The concept of town twinning was conceived to foster greater understanding and trade between communities in different countries.

“With the devolution of power to big, overarching regions increasingly likely, smaller towns are in danger of being left behind.

“Twin Towns UK is an opportunity for local councils facing particular problems to form a partnership with a counterpart elsewhere in the country. Having a twinned town is something to be proud of - and we think some towns can find that partner here in the UK.”

The selected towns will be supported over 18 months to build ties, receive economic planning support, and have access to funds to kick-start new commercial, voluntary and social enterprise activity, the charity said.