Ten UK towns selected for ‘twinning’ trial to help boost social and economic growth

February 6, 2017

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  • Towns from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have been selected
  • Scheme harnesses the traditional concept of twinning and gives it a new spin to help UK towns prosper and innovate

Ten UK towns have now been selected to participate in the Carnegie UK Trust’s domestic ‘twinning’ trial aimed at reinvigorating local town economies.

The new partnerships follow the search for towns launched in October last year by the Trust. In a new twist to the traditional concept of town twinning, which dates back to the Second World War, the aim is to pair towns with similar characteristics or challenges – but with different back stories and approaches – to consider how to make positive change in the future.

The Twin Towns are:

  • Broughshane in Northern Ireland & Wooler in Northumberland
  • Newbiggin-by-the-Sea in Northumberland & Withernsea in Yorkshire
  • Whitburn in West Lothian & Oswaldtwistle in Lancashire
  • Fishguard and Goodwick in Wales and Berwick-upon-Tweed in Northumberland
  • Merthyr Tydfil in Wales and North Shields in Tyne & Wear

Over the coming 18 months, towns will build their ties, develop a body of evidence, receive support, and devise a twinning action plan in order to access catapult funds to kick start new commercial, voluntary and social enterprise activity.

Gina Wilson, Development Manager at the Carnegie UK Trust, said:

“Twin Towns is aimed at encouraging towns to make a positive impact locally, especially at a time when devolution of power to cities and regions is becoming more prevalent. In fostering new relationships with partners that towns might not have considered before, it will provide a new perspective and hopefully new solutions to real and current issues. Whilst we don’t expect the towns’ concerns to be resolved overnight, we hope that the new partnerships will be the start of something positive.”

For more information, please visit: http://www.carnegieuktrust.org.uk/project/twintowns/ or follow @CarnegieUKTrust #TwinTownsUK



For Carnegie UK Trust media enquiries, please contact Kirsty Anderson or Gerard Klein at Grayling on 0131 226 2363 or [email protected]


Application process for Twin Towns

Application process

  1. Twin Towns UK opened for expressions of interest in October 2016, with a web portal and information assets made available to interested communities for applications.
  2. Applications closed, an expert group convened to make decisions, and partnerships were confirmed in January 2016.
  3. Phase one exchanges, research and consultation exercises, and planning processes will be completed by the end of August 2017.
  4. Phase two bilateral ventures will be agreed and catapult funding plans initiated by the end of October 2017.
  5. Evaluation outputs from the pilots will be available from October 2018.

The Carnegie UK Trust was established in 1913 by Scots-American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. It seeks to improve the lives and wellbeing of people throughout the UK with particular regard to people who are disadvantaged.

The Trust operates the ‘Flourishing Towns’ programme that supports research, policy and practical work to empower prosperity and social wellbeing in town communities. The Trust ran TestTown until 2016, the UK’s biggest skills programme for high street entrepreneurs. It led the consortium that built and launched Understanding Scottish Places, Scotland’s first online data platform to compare data for every town and city in the country. It recently published groundbreaking research on global best practice for achieving broad-based transformations in towns suffering economic challenge, which reveals that very local control, clear and coherent purpose, and understanding interrelationships are all key to sustained success.