Social and Employment
Douai, northern France, France
€10,000 to the Selection Committee at 2005/02/08
Project leader Douaisis Passerelle
« The project seems interesting and relevant to me because it takes on the struggle against social exclusion using a more broad-based concept than simple assistance. This is a well-organised project and the leaders of the Association have the advantage of long experience and good credentials in social work. »
The Douaisis Passerelle Association created a "social working food shop", an environment where the people being helped play an active role and get out of the too common position of aid recipients. From the start, this initiative was supported by two organisations that have excellent experience in social work, the Conférence Saint-Vincent-de-Paul and the Douai branch of Secours Catholique. In this out-of-the-ordinary store, you don't just come in to fill your basket.
The organisation, operation and ways of distributing assistance are actually connected to a system of social support staffed by professionals or qualified volunteers. Everyone who comes to shop here is regularly encouraged to learn about it.
Breaking the pattern of isolation of disadvantaged people
More than just a place to shop, the social working food shop is a starting point to help people in difficulty to improve their lives.
In addition to the usual food retailing, which is organised in ways that get recipients of assistance involved, families participate, for instance, in discussion groups designed to break down their isolation.
They can also receive information on health and social rights such as public health insurance; housing (CAF, PACT in Douai), keeping the family budget (PACT, school for consumers), parent-child relationships, and school orientation.
The families can also participate in cooking and sewing classes. More than just a place to do one's shopping, the social working shop isa starting point to help people in difficulty to improve their lives.
The Douaisis Passerelle Association rents the shop space from the Conférence Saint-Vincent-de-Paul, the owner. The Association also needed to fit out this former salle des fêtes with a kitchen, meeting rooms, lavatories and so on. The Veolia foundation participated in this installation with a grant of €10,000.