Sorting and reconditioning textiles in ideal conditions

The collection, sorting, cleaning, reconditioning and sale of linen and clothing are tasks ideal for getting women back to work. However, the huge tonnages and the innumerable handlings that this entails demand close attention to improving the working conditions.

Social and Employment

Limoges, France

Céline Besnard

€8000 to the Selection Committee at 2010/06/22

Project leader

Secours Populaire Français de la Haute-Vienne

Secours Populaire Français opened a full-time workshop development project in August 2001 in Limoges, in the Beaubreuil district. It occupies the premises of a former shopping center, refurbished and leased by the city to Secours Populaire under an agreement. This Project is addressed to unemployed persons, encountering social and professional difficulties. Its activity is organized around the sorting, upgrading and sale of the textiles collected by Secours Populaire de Haute-Vienne. Its business is considerable, deposits are steadily growing in number and volume from year to year (98 160 kg collected in 2006 including 81,800 kg recycled; 243 360 kg collected in 2008 including 202 800 kg recycled). In the first nine months of 2009, 27,900 deposits had already been recorded for a tonnage equivalent to that of the previous year.

The workforce development activities are organized around the sorting, reconditioning and sale of the textiles collected. Upgrading the old linen recovered (washing, ironing, packaging), reconditioning toys and stuffed toys, utilizing textile waste (sustainable development approach), gifts abroad, leasing and upkeep, after reconditioning, of theater costumes and disguises given to Secours Populaire by the Fédération des Oeuvres Laïques.

The project aims to improve the working conditions by the acquisition of equipment that makes storage, handling and sale easier, and contact with the customer more friendly in the room reserved for sales. It primarily benefits the twelve back-to-work employees, for whom the recruitment criterion is diversity (both sexes, handicapped persons).

Proximity outreach, a social and friendly bond

The approach of Secours Populaire Français is part of a logic of counseling and not of assistance. In this way, each person who applies for help can himself contribute by even token financial participation, or unpaid action.

The sales area enables persons in difficulty or with low incomes to acquire clothing at affordable prices. All these activities work to generate proximity outreach, to strengthen social bonds, and to foster friendship. It serves to welcome the persons and families who find what they need in the way of clothing at minimum cost.

The Foundation was approached to finance part of the equipment needed to improve the working conditions (eight sorting tables, clothing racks, ergonomic seats, shelves, trays, storage units, roller trolleys, miscellaneous utensils and tools).