Giving a second life to wood waste

Providing woodwork training to women living in precarious situations

France
A social reintegration workshop for women and a scheme for recycling waste, especially wood from furniture and cork

Providing woodwork training to women living in precarious situations

Project leader
logo AICO la Manufacture

Duration of the partnership
2018 -2020

Location
France

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The project and it aims

AICO observed that there is a record rate of unemployment in its department, the Pyrénées Orientales (eastern Pyrenees), and that 47% of those out of work are women. Most of these women are single parents and dependent on minimal social welfare payments. These factors combine to act as barriers to getting back to work for women who, for the most part, have no formal qualifications. There are also the cases of women who have suffered domestic abuse and have been left homeless following separation.

AICO also seeks to address the problem of waste in the department. There is only one Emmaüs workshop that collects waste but does not restore furniture.

That is why the association launched its wood recycling project: to tackle these two issues through social reintegration workshops for the benefit of women and using recycled material, especially wood.

AICO thus aims to help participants regain a foothold in the working world by teaching them wood recycling skills.

Through their activity participants uphold essential values whose importance is now recognised by society.

Wooden furniture and the raw material are recovered from waste disposal centres and from donations made in stores. This ensures that the project serves a clear ecological purpose and forms part of environmentally-friendly citizenship.

The AICO project wants to show people in our consumer society that alternatives are possible and not so difficult to put in place when solutions are creative.

So there is a double impact: waste is cut down and women excluded from the workplace gain skills.

The beneficiaries

Ten employees involved in social reintegration schemes are currently working at La Manufacture. The aim is to offer fixed-term contracts to a further five by expanding the project.

Other beneficiaries include local authorities, Sydetom and members of the public who took part in events.

What makes the project special

The association’s work revolves around very vulnerable women who join a project that helps them to reintegrate the working world and gain qualifications. It also helps them to regain footholds in society through a number of additional support schemes and by promoting their work.

The project presented here is intended to boost solidarity by helping these women to regain a place in society by helping them and the general public to gain more awareness of their potential.

Lastly, the project aims above all to achieve qualitative results, with a proven creative aspect.

At La Manufacture I wanted to broaden my skill set in relation to in-store design and selling. I enjoyed working within a team and everything about recycling appealed to me. I would like to set up my own business because I also design my own stuff but it will take time before I could live off it. I’m here to get a handle on all of that!

Virginie workshop employee at La Manufacture
logo AICO la Manufacture

Project leader AICO la Manufacture

AICO is an association that helps people who are disenfranchised from the labour market to reintegrate themselves into the working world and society.

The association set up its reintegration workshop, “La Manufacture”, to host under-represented people, namely women, who account for 47% of job-seekers.

Employees were trained in selling and, in some cases, gained their first formal certificates.

AICO is recognised by local partners: Since 2015, La Manufacture has been making off-shoot products for the “VISA for the image” international festival of photojournalism with photos printed on tarpaulins and since 2016 on tarpaulin luggage for the Céret Museum of Modern Art.

The association now makes more and more recycled furniture for seasonal rental businesses that want original furniture.