Friendship Initiative News

30th August 2022 - Civic Reception at the Parish Church

Cirencester welcomes Bathurst NSW Regional Councillor and General Manager at Civic Reception

Civic Reception - Group Photo

On Tuesday 30th August, members of Cirencester gathered at the Parish Church to welcome Bathurst, NSW Regional Councillor Jess Jennings, and General Manager David Sherley to Cirencester as part of the Cirencester and the City of Bathurst Friendship Initiative.

Cllr Jess Jennings and David Sherley were formally welcomed to Cirencester by the Mayor—Cllr Sabrina Dixon—who gave a speech about the importance of the twinning and friendships that Cirencester has. “No matter what national governments may say, or do, no matter what global and environmental problems we are all facing; our communities are united. We are all the better for the ability to share ideas and form relationships over the internet, and, sometimes, even in person. Mr and Mrs Sherley, Councillor Jennings, as representatives of the people of Bathurst, I say to you now; the people of Cirencester are your friends. We will always be friends.”

The Friendship Initiative was established in 2017 by the 9th Earl Bathurst to promote awareness, communication, and opportunities between the people and organisations of Cirencester and the City of Bathurst. At the reception, Earl Bathurst discussed how the Friendship developed and the unique opportunity it provides for members of each community to forge new connections with their counterparts on the other side of the world. “It is wonderful to finally be able to welcome Bathurstians to Cirencester once more. There are so many similarities between the two regions and plenty of opportunities for individuals and organisations to forge new connections.”

The Bathurstians have had a busy week exploring Cirencester and engaging with the local community. They visited the Cotswold District Council and Cirencester Town Council to learn more about how local government operates in the UK. They also discussed problems both regions face and how the councils are working to resolve them. The group were invited by the Mayor to the Phoenix Reception, where they met with community members and learned more about life in Cirencester.

Alongside their civic visits, they had the opportunity to visit the Parish Church, Corinium Museum, Cirencester Park, and attended the Phoenix Festival in the Abbey Grounds.

“We loved exploring Cirencester after the two-year pandemic delay and are now looking forward to developing the Friendship Initiative further, especially in areas of economics and trade, education, arts and culture, history, sport, and of course tourism. Thank you for making us feel so welcome, and to your whole community: 'Welcome to Bathurst, Australia anytime!'” – Cllr Jess Jennings

27th June 2022 - Cirencester Bathust Climate Change Conference

Local secondary school students tackle Australian climate change

On Monday 27th June, Kingshill School and Deer Park School students attended the Cirencester Bathurst Climate Change Conference at the new Gloucestershire Digital Skills Centre at Cirencester College.

The conference was convened by the Cirencester and the City of Bathurst Friendship Initiative and was presented by former College student Harry Janssen, now a member of the Friendship Initiative.

The conference got the students thinking about important climate change issues outside the typical school lesson format. This year’s conference focused on carbon net zero, specifically asking, “Australia aims to achieve carbon net zero by 2050. Should they aim to achieve this sooner?”

In teams—and with the help of A-level geography students—the students spent the morning researching how Australia’s agricultural, mining, and energy industries are impacted by climate change. In the afternoon, the students were grouped with members of the other teams, where they had to present the research they had found and decide whether Australia could aim to achieve carbon net zero before 2050.

Overall, the students found that Australia should aim to achieve carbon net zero sooner. However, this would require a vast amount of work and be costly. Therefore, from a practical point of view, it is unlikely that Australia would be able to achieve this sooner. However, they should continue to reduce carbon emissions where possible.

“The students took the premise of the conference and ran with it. It was great to see them collaborating enthusiastically and researching the important issues that climate change is presenting.” – Harry Janssen.

By completing the conference, students demonstrated their problem solving, teamwork, digital skills, and an awareness of social responsibility towards climate change. The students were awarded certificates signed by the Earl Bathurst to celebrate their achievements.

To find out more about the Conference visit

28th October 2021 - The Bathurst Experience Launch

The Bathurst Experience opens at Cirencester Local Information Centre

lic launch

A new Bathurst Experience has been launched in Cirencester's Local Information Centre at Bingham House. It promotes and celebrating the town's Friendship Agreement with the City of Bathurst in Australia.

The Local Information Centre has a range of literature and local products sourced from the City of Bathurst and is open Monday to Friday 9 am to 4:30 pm.

The Earl of Bathurst, who participated in the launch event on the 28th October, said "I am delighted that we have been able to launch the Bathurst Experience, to build on and grow the friendship and links between our two communities, as they have so many similarities."

Councillor Claire Bloomer, Mayor of Cirencester, said: “Our international friendship and twinning links are really important; we want to raise awareness of opportunities for individuals and organisations within our communities and particularly in education and sport. The experience initiative, at our LIC, forms part of the wider commitment in promoting tourism and the economy. Please pop in to see us, visiting the LIC is a perfect opportunity to buy gifts and find out more about the Town Council all year round.”

3rd October 2021 - Virgin Virtual London Marathon 2021

How far would you go to help young local homeless people?


On Sunday 3rd October 2021, four people ran the Virgin Virtual London Marathon for Local Youth Homeless Charity, CHYP—Cirencester Housing for Young People.

Two of the runners, Dominick Curnock and Kit Bennett, were based in Cirencester, United Kingdom. Additionally, Jenn Arnold and Stephen Jackson, were taking part in Australia by doing 7 laps of Mount Panorama! They got involved through the Cirencester and the City of Bathurst Friendship Initiative.

CHYP and the Friendship Intiative Team were based in Cirencester Park to support them all.

The Beano coffee van on the Bathurst Estate sold Fish River Roasters coffee on the day, a nod to the City of Bathurst, AU. At 8.30 with the Australians just finishing their epic marathon so our gallant UK runners began, set on their way by Lord Bathurst. Some of the South Cerney Stragglers running group were out in force as support runners. Along with friends and family supporters.

"I was very pleased to hear that our Friends in Bathurst, Australia participated in the same race alongside our runners here in Cirencester Park. It's an excellent example of the Cirencester and the City of Bathurst Friendship Intiative coming to life and in supporting Cirencester Housing for Young People" - Lord Bathurst

17th February 2020 - Young Person's Exchange 2020

Finding the next student to visit Bathurst

Alice Chandler—the first student to visit Bathurst—presented to Cirencester College students at The Sundial Theatre. The College are now in the process of selecting the next young person to travel to Bathurst. The trip is fully funded and supported by The Friendship Initiative. The students will go through an application process followed by interviews at the end of March 2020.

View Alice's Presentation

October 2019 - The Cotswold Store Launch

Sharing products from the Cotswolds in Bathurst

Having established a formal friendship arrangement, Cirencester and Bathurst shared a desire to move beyond a symbolic relationship and create a genuine economic partnership to benefit local businesses and economies. The first stage in achieving this was establishing the 'Cotswold Store' at the Bathurst Visitor Information Centre. The store was set up by Simon King Ltd and stocks a selection of authentic products from Cirencester and the Cotswolds. The products were carefully selected and approved by Lord Bathurst. Check out a selection of the available products, and call into the Bathurst VIsitor Information Centre to grab your piece of the Cotswolds.

26th January 2018 - BBC Radio Gloucestershire Feature

The Friendship Initiative on the Radio

Nicky Price

The Friendship Initiative has been featured on BBC Radio Gloucestershire's Nicky Price show. Nicky will be doing a show live from Bathurst in April. Today she interviewed the Mayor of Bathurst, one of their residents, and Councillor Mark Harris from Cirencester.

18th October 2017 - The Friendship Launch

Announcing the plans of the Friendship to Cirencester

Over 250 people and 170 organisations packed Cirencester Parish Church on Wednesday 18th October to hear the plans for the Friendship Initiative between Cirencester and the City of Bathurst in New South Wales, Australia.

The Australian High Commissioner—The Hon Alexander Downer AC—was the guest of honour and greeted at the door to the Church by the Earl and Countess Bathurst as well as Councillor Mark Harris before being introduced to Reverend Katie Richardson, the chair and vice chair of the Cotswold District Council and the Deputy Mayor.

The Community evening saw Cirencester's voluntary organisations, sports clubs, the Royal Agricultural University, schools and colleges come together to hear from their Australian counterparts by way of a video which included the Mayor of Bathurst—Graeme Hanger—as well as listen to how they can get involved in the Friendship.

A grant fund and trust are to be set up by and held within the Cirencester Community Development Trust that will pay for a young person from the Cirencester area—who would not usually have the opportunity—to travel to Bathurst NSW for work, study, sports, or involvement in the voluntary sector.

Read more about the evening here

28th September 2017 - Giant Postcard

Sending a giant postcard to Bathurst

The Friendship Initiative visited Cirencester College to get students to sign the giant postcard that we will be sending to Bathurst in Australia after our upcoming presentation event.

Read more about the giant postcard here

22nd June 2017 - A Proposed Friendship

Proposing a Friendship between Cirencester and the City of Bathurst

Cirencester's business community gathered at Cirencester Park to listen to plans for a proposed friendship between Cirencester and the City of Bathurst in New South Wales, Australia.

The Friendship Initiative is planning a series of activities and events in 2017, culminating in a celebration and launch of the friendship arrangement between the two regional capitals in the Parish Church in October. The most significant announcement was the idea of a Young Person's Exchange. A programme to fund a trip for a young person from around Cirencester—who would not usually have the opportunity—to travel to Bathurst and experience a life-changing opportunity, be it through work, study, sports, or in the voluntary sector.