It was a case of Bienvenue à Hounslow as special guests from the borough’s French twin town of Issy-les-Moulineaux visited Hounslow this week.
Deputy Mayor of Issy-les-Moulineaux, Alain Levy and his delegation of Morgane Millon, International Relations Director and Capucine Guieu, EU Funding Manager, visited the Civic Centre in Lampton Road.
The French national flag was flown to mark the occasion and the visiting French party were greeted and hosted by the Mayor of Hounslow, Councillor Ajmer Grewal for a welcome meeting.
They then met with Councillor Steve Curran, Leader of Hounslow Council and Councillor Amrit Mann, Deputy Leader, where discussions took place around the key purpose of the visit and about how a working partnership between the two councils can bring about an inspirational school exchange programme to benefit students from both Hounslow and Issy-les-Moulineaux.
This would include expanding knowledge of each other’s communities in areas such as culture, sport and music.
The outcome was to look at maintaining a partnered approach to ensure project work can continue including looking at exploring new opportunities to encourage children and young people to visit Issy-les-Moulineaux.
Following the meetings, the group went to visit Syon House in Brentford, to enjoy a personalised tour of the historic venue. It gave the visitors a chance to experience at first hand the history and culture Hounslow has, which they want to incorporate into their school exchange programme.
The second day of the visit, saw Deputy Mayor Levy join Hounslow Council Chief Executive Mary Harpley and Cllr Curran for a breakfast meeting, before they embarked on a trip to the House of Commons where they met with MP for Feltham and Heston, Seema Malhotra and Ruth Cadbury, MP for Brentford and Isleworth.
These meetings reinforced the aim of driving forward all what had been discussed during the visit and for both councils to start to work together.
Mayor of Hounslow, Councillor Ajmer Grewal, said: “It was wonderful to host our very special guests from Issy-les-Moulineaux and introduce them to our borough.
“We are keen that the close friendship and working relationship we have between us, will long continue. There are many exciting opportunities we can work on, which will be great for bringing both our communities together and for us, increasing the number of visitors to our borough.”
Issy-les-Moulineaux is a suburb just outside Paris, lying on the left bank of the river Seine and a short distance from the famous Notre-Dame cathedral. It has been twinned with Hounslow since 1982.
Deputy Mayor Levy, said: “It has been a wonderful trip to Hounslow and we want to thank everyone for their hospitality and welcome.
“We discussed opportunities in developing a fulfilling school exchange programme, learning about Hounslow’s culture and introducing new sports.
“We look forward to developing these important projects for our respective citizens of Issy-les-Moulineaux and in Hounslow and for visits to become regular events where we can continue to strengthen our partnership.”