La vie associative

In France it's really important to join groups to do things. They're called "associations", registered with the government, some which are of public utility qualify for tax relief on gifts, and they fulfil lots of different functions.

Local churches are associations, as are the denominations to which they belong.

Some associations are there to play games or do sport.

Others run cafés or cultural activities.

Some support humanitarian projects in the majority world. Others help immigrants and asylum seekers to navigate the winding paths of settling in France.

One we saw in Strasbourg runs a cooperative restaurant, where people sign up to cook and eat lunch together. This is a great idea for students living on knackipâtes (hot dog sausages cut up into pasta shapes - it's a thing...)

Others are concerned with recycling and the "circular economy" - that is repairing, reusing and reselling things as well as producing things locally.

Just up the road from us we have just discovered a splendid association called Récup'R. It's situated in an old house that they have been allowed to use as an anti-squat measure, apparently, after being moved from an old property that has now been demolished as part of the urban renewal going on around us.

The group has two main activities - bicycles and sewing. 

There's a big workshop - essentially the kitchen and living room of the house - given over to industrial sewing machines and with stocks of cloth and wool. Groups meet to knit and crochet, too, and someone will teach you to knit, crochet or sew and help you with your project.

The garage, back room and garden are given over to bicycles. The association clears bike storage areas of abandoned bikes and stocks them in the garden, then lets people find one that suits them and do it up in their workshop using their tools and spare parts. They have every tool imaginable and stacks of everything you can think of. On Thursday afternoon there's a collective workshop where people get together and fix bikes which are then sold to bring in funds for the association.

The place is run by some younger people who know their craft, but is largely frequented by serious old people from the area. If you have a problem with your bike you can always drop by and someone will look at it for you.

It's magic !


Popular posts from this blog

A bit about music exams in UK and France

The Kitchen