Newport-on-Tay link with Zolotarevo in Ukraine
The twinning relationship between Newport-on-Tay, in north-east Fife, and Zolotarevo, in the Zakarpattia province in western Ukraine, originated from an idea among members of local churches in Newport. As the turn of the century approached, the Newport-on-Tay Ecumenical Group decided to celebrate the coming Millennium by inviting a group of young people from Central and Eastern Europe for a holiday. This initiative, combined with contacts between a member of staff at Dundee University (a short distance across the bridge spanning the Tay estuary) and Uzhhorod University in western Ukraine, resulted in establishing a link with the small settlement in Ukraine. The Ecumenical Group later changed its name to the Newport and Zolotarevo Twinning Association (NazTA). The twinning link between the two communities was formalised in 2002.
Apart from population size, the two twinned communities are very different in terms of character, geographical location and level of economic development. Newport-on-Tay, situated on the shores of the Tay estuary, is a busy commuter town for nearby Dundee across the bridge. Zolotarevo, on the other hand, is a quiet rural settlement far from the nearest city and in the centre of a continental landmass. A sign by the roadside on the outskirts of the village in Ukraine records the link with Scotland.
The initiative on the Ukrainian side was taken by a teacher of English at Zolotarevo Secondary School who sought to form a link with a school in an English-speaking country. Through a personal connection with Uzhhorod University, she established contact with the Newport Ecumenical Group. Following an exploratory visit by a member of the Newport Group to Ukraine, an intensive money-raising operation took place in order to realise the proposed Millennium celebration. This enabled a party of 24 young people from the Zolotarevo school, accompanied by two teachers, to visit Scotland and stay with families in Newport in July 2000. In subsequent years, scholarships were offered to individual young people from Zolotarevo to attend an English language summer school in Dundee. In addition to hosting several groups of visitors from Ukraine, residents of Newport have supported the Zolotarevo school with the provision of English language books and, on occasions, travelled to Ukraine where they gave English tuition to groups of students at the school.
[Photo of Zolotarevo visitors]
On the eve of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, expressions of solidarity were sent from Newport to Zolotarevo. Subsequently, gifts of money collected in Newport were donated to the school in Zolotarevo to assist in the feeding of hundreds of refugees fleeing the war in other parts of Ukraine.
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Newport and Zolotarevo Twinning Association (Website appears inactive.)
English Wikipedia page for Zolotarovo
NOTE: In 1995, the official spelling of the settlement’s name was changed from Золотарево to Золотарьово. Hence the different transliterations into English.
Road sign image © Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 4.0