From reintegration to artistic creation

Through its efforts in the processing of recycled materials, Initiatives Solidaires is providing business-driven integration workshops in Aubervilliers. Supervised by sculptor Christian Grisinger, job-seeking employees are able to learn new skills and to create works that are then sold to the benefit of the association.

Social and Employment

Aubervilliers, France

Dominique Boizeau

€20,000 at the Committee on 10/12/2013
€20,000 at the Committee on 04/02/2015
€10,000 at the Committee on 13/10/2016
€20,000 at the Committee on 28/11/2018

Project leader

Initiatives Solidaires

“I decided to support the application made by Initiatives Solidaires in 2013, for I knew how efficient this association was and how competent the craftsmen teacher was who supervises the job-integration employees. Their Social and Solidarity Economy project fully matches the circular economy approach advocated by Veolia by providing an activity that supports sustainable development through the concept of recycling in its widest sense, since the employees themselves are “recycled” into artists thanks to their creations.” Dominique Boizeau

Initiatives solidaires was created in March 2013 to fight social injustice and all forms of exclusion, including though job creation and community activities. It carries on social insertion through employment actions and social and supportive work with extremely vulnerable groups. The association manages two social inclusion projects in Aubervilliers. One is focused on hotel and restaurant activities with 25 employees. The other focuses on the recovery and transformation of objects and furniture, through metal and wood working workshops.
Varied skills for a recycling project
This second project is based on the recovery and transformation of recovered materials (waste), such as metal (steel, cast iron, stainless steel), glass, and wood, to produce crafted artistic objects or furniture. Christian Grisinger, a metal sculptor from the Boulle school, teaches employees on the social inclusion scheme how to use machines, tools, and specific techniques related to iron working, carpentry, glass working, etc. The project started in 2014 with a team of fifteen employees. The Veolia Foundation's support, funding from Aide régionale aux structures d'insertion par l'économique (ARSIE), and the region's General Council's call for social and solidarity-based economy projects, allowed the necessary development work to be completed and machine tools, power tools, and a vehicle to be acquired.

A network of top-tier partners

Initiatives Solidaires works with a broad network of partners from social and professional support fields; it has also partnered with top-tier partners, customers, and suppliers, such as IPSSI, PLG, Hygiène et Diffusion, Bruneau, Universal Soudure, Acipar, Girard Sudron, Felder, la Plateforme du bâtiment, Plaine Commune Promotion, AEDIFIBAT, Bartin, and Ludimus.
The association launched its woodwork workshop in 2015. It recruited a technical supervision under a permanent employment contract and six employees on the social inclusion scheme supplemented the team of fifteen people. It has also set up a showroom to showcase creations and help sell the work of employees on the social inclusion scheme.
Supported by the Veolia Foundation, Initiatives Solidaires acquired power tools and equipment (panel saw, nailer, stapler, stapler-nailer, reeler, screwdrivers, planer, ripper, jigsaws, radial miter saw, plunge saws, eccentric sanders, vacuum cleaner, milling machine, sander, hammer drill, nibbler).

It also worked on a work package awarded by Aubervilliers (structural work, electrical and roof work, interior fittings). These offices, which were necessary and expected, enabled the permanent team (nine full-time equivalents for the management, sale, training, and support of its 43 employees on the social inclusion scheme) to work in better conditions, on a single administrative site.

Further develop wood working activities and visibility

The association regularly receives large pieces of solid wood the use of which would potential add quality and originality to the creations of the Social Inclusion Workshop teams. Working such pieces requires the use of certain specific machine tools, such as broadband sanders, planers, combination routers, format saws, band saws, nailers, and staplers. With the help of the Veolia Foundation, it has been able to acquire some of this equipment: future employees on the social inclusion scheme will be trained in these new techniques which will add interest to their future job applications.

The association is also planning to improve its visibility by improving its communication resources. The aim is to boost sales while better explaining its social inclusion and environmental protection actions. In this perspective, supported by the Veolia Foundation, it invested in vertical hanging banners and projectors to better illustrate its actions at events.
Initiatives Solidaires further reinforced this area of development in 2018. The association partnered with WeCanDoo, which markets workshops for individuals, to offer introductory sessions to crafting recovered materials and waste. Workshops are run by employees on the social inclusion scheme, who find themselves in a situation where they are passing on their knowledge to trainees. These trainees, by paying to learn about these carpentry or metal working techniques, help increase Initiatives Solidaires's turnover. In late 2018, the Veolia Foundation renewed its support to the association to help it efficiently take advantage of this new growth driver.