Jobs to revitalise a region

By creating local jobs, the "Régie rurale de services en pays du Val d’Adour" is giving hope to the long-term unemployed. It is also strengthening the social fabric of an isolated region.

Social and Employment

Gers, France

Jean-Claude Lavigne

8,000 € to the Selection Committee at 2005/10/04

Project leader
Régie rurale de services en pays du Val d'Adour

«  This rural services authority reflects a shared determination to revitalise a rural area. The head office will be in Villecomtal, which is one of the department's most underprivileged districts. The project deserves all the support it can get. »

Jean-Claude Lavigne

Twenty-eight inhabitants per square kilometre… This figure might sound too good to be true to city-dwellers feeling hemmed in but it can also give rise to a number of social problems for inhabitants of the Val d’Adour. This region, which extends from the departments of Gers, Pyrénées-Atlantiques and Hautes-Pyrénées, is suffering from the effects of depopulation. The average age is extremely high but services to the elderly are few and far between. However, a large number of jobless have moved into this delightful region, in an attempt to escape the expense of city life. But they immediately come up against a lack of jobs.
In order to weave a stronger social fabric and lay the foundations for a dynamic economy, inhabitants and local councillors have established a rural authority. The "Régie rurale de services en pays du Val d’Adour" aims to get the region's inhabitants to play a full role in helping the socially excluded to integrate while improving the living environment of elderly or isolated populations.

Protecting local business

The association, which began operations in January 2006, will call on income support recipients or the long-term unemployed to carry out work in private homes, associations or local municipalities. These services, which are invoiced to the customers, will cover 80% of the association's financing needs.
The activities proposed will include housework, ironing, gardening, wood chopping, trips to the local dump, clearing out attics, DIY or local transport. Thanks to this system, the rural authority will help to protect local business in an area of the Gars region which is the equivalent of two cantons. Seven supervisors will be hired from the outset. The Veolia Foundation has decided to provide 8,000 euros in funding to cover the cost of computer equipment and furniture which is needed if the authority is to manage operations effectively.