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Ciotat Automotive Service: a solidarity garage for those most in need

Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur - La Ciotat
Inclusive mobility

Ciotat Automotive Service helps people in the process of social and professional integration become mobile with the loan and repair of a car at nearly no cost.



It's an original idea, and the least one can say is that solidarity garages are few and far between. “I’ve always been passionate about cars. While in the US, I met someone who had started a solidarity garage. When I returned in 2002, I knew I wanted to do the same thing. There’s a moment when one knows what is essential. I understood that I had to help others,” explains Philippe Develay, garage director.

Giving a good boost

The tone was set, for this man is energetic and eager to change the daily lives of La Ciotat’s most disadvantaged. It is a population made vulnerable by shipyard closings and limited access to mass transit. It would take seven years of struggle and a partnership in July 2009 with VINCI Foundation for the organisation to find a firm footing.

Julien Martin, prevention manager with Campenon Bernard Southeast (VINCI Construction), has become involved in the project, “I started at VINCI in 2007. I expressed a desire to participate in a project helping others. I immediately submitted a request to become a sponsor since I was in contact with the garage. I performed a safety audit and made a list of needs, which included a tow truck. The organisation received €16,000 in funding from the Foundation".

Ciotat Automotive Service has signed agreements with regional agencies, who recommend the garage to people in need. The garage provides several services, beginning with the loan of a vehicle, which is renewed depending on the individual's progress in obtaining employment. The user pays only the cost of assurance and petrol. Repairs are performed at very low rates. The cost of labour is €10/hour and parts are sold at cost. Finally, there’s assistance with the sale and purchase of a vehicle, and, with the support of the VINCI Foundation, repair and towing for vehicles belonging to garage customers.

More than a garage

Aline Azuar, 32, a divorcée with a child, just found a job thanks to the garage: “My car was badly in need of repair. My social worker sent me to Ciotat Automotive Service. It covered everything, including service and part replacement. I discovered a terrific team. They got me back on my feet.” First and foremost, the garage aims to offer a listening ear and support. Julien Martin concludes, “This has been a beautiful experience. I am proud to be a sponsor of the project. Without the garage, these people would be in dire straits. I’ve handed over keys and this was very instructive. As long as you have a job, you're not aware of the difficulties. Rest assured that I’ll be reapplying to be a sponsor!”

April 2011 © Reporters d'Espoirs news agency

Reporters d'Espoirs news agency

VINCI Foundation works with Reporters d'Espoirs, a French news agency, to highlight and share the innovative social initiatives that it supports. The arrangement includes the writing of articles and exchange on topics that lead to solutions. Thus presented, the initiatives, validated using the criteria of the editorial charter of Reporters d'Espoirs, are intended to demonstrate their development and results.