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Reconstruire Ensemble : a neighbourhood social association to meet the real needs of inhabitants

Centre-Val de Loire - Mainvilliers
Access to employment

In Mainvilliers, a town of 10,000 inhabitants in the vicinity of Chartres, council housing represents 40% of the town’s housing. In 2000, the organization Reconstruire Ensemble (Rebuilding Together) was established here as part of a municipal housing renovation and valorization programme. Registered as a “social integration workshop” by the Ministry for Labour, it has a single goal: improve the living environment and create social bonds.



“Energies and resources exist throughout these areas which need to be valorized,” states Bernard Monguillon, the association’s director.“Reconstruire Ensemble is committed to the challenge of blending social and citizen aspects into its economic activities.”

Social integration projects

The maintenance projects, entrusted by the town and the donor, enable socially-disadvantaged people to regain a foothold in the world of work. “We recruit, first and foremost, people from these areas, the long-term unemployed, young people with no qualifications and disabled people,” emphasises Bernard Monguillon. Like Ali, 29 years old, “the association has helped me regain my dignity,” or Odette, who “takes pleasure in working again.” There are 45 employees working on 6 to 12-month integration contracts. The upkeep of public spaces, offices, green spaces, domestic waste collection, small-scale renovation and home repairs in apartments: a variety of activities that enhance their technical skills whilst simultaneously reintegrating them into the social environment. Another strong point of the system: individualized assessment to help them establish a professional project. A socio-professional counsellor and technical supervisors provide assistance, which is completed with a range of training courses: budgeting, highway code, basic knowledge refresher courses. Bernard Monguillon insists: “We defend a forward-looking view of social integration.”

Social removal: a new neighbourhood service

In 2008, the VINCI Foundation became involved by financing the acquisition of tools and a vehicle for the green space project. Jean-Philippe Turcaud, Project Manager for Freyssinet France (VINCI Construction), was named as the project sponsor. “At the beginning I asked myself a few questions: on what I could give them or how I could tackle a field that I knew nothing about.” Doubts that were swept aside from the first meeting: “The team is open and highly committed to socially-disadvantaged people. The discussions and meetings are always enriching.” Among his tasks: advising the association when canvassing companies and approaching the bosses of the Group to find new contracts and trying to get people, who are nearing the end of their integration plan, recruited. “By sitting on the Association’s Board of Directors, I am sharing a little more their everyday life.”
A new activity, co-financed by the VINCI Foundation, was established at the beginning of 2011: a furniture and bulk commodity removal service for inhabitants under legal supervision or not holding a driving licence. The first customers have already contacted the association. A full-time technical supervisor has been recruited and a new van has been purchased. Reconstruire Ensemble is meeting its challenge with its neighbourhood services and its social integration!

March 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.