Aiding Manche newcomers

“Even before you buy your house you can come to one of our events and see what you think and see if you feel you would like to be part of the local community.”

The Anglophone Association in Coutances, Manche, describes itself as a group of mainly English-speaking people enjoying life in France who get together to improve their enjoyment of the area.

There are about 80 members and a growing number of activity groups as well as visits, meals and celebrations of British and French events.

President Louise Wilson has lived in Normandy for three years and found the association helped her settle in: “When we moved in we looked up local groups on the internet and found this one.

“When you move to a new country you don’t have the social network you had before and joining something like the Anglophone Association helps you to meet new people straight away and get information about all sorts of useful tips such as where to find a good plumber.

Mrs Wilson says the group can introduce newcomers to life in Normandy. It has French members and offers a way for them and English speakers to practise each other’s language.

There is a walking group, a craft group, a lunch club, a book club and country dancing. “When I was in the UK I used to do Morris Dancing,” said Mrs Wilson. “As I couldn’t find classes over here I decided to start my own.
“We do English and Scottish dancing with a touch of Morris Dancing thrown in and meet once a month.

“A sense of fun and a willingness to have a laugh is all we ask. It is good exercise and there is a drink and home-made cake or chocolates.”

Every December the organisation hosts a Christmas meal so that those going away to see family over the festive season do not miss out.

The association always welcomes new members and ideas for new activities. Membership is €20 for a couple and €10 single. This includes a newsletter with a diary of events and reports.