Emmaus Europe

Emmaus Grenoble creates its own work integration scheme: the Lucie Coutaz Workshop

The French community, Emmaus Grenoble, has inaugurated its new work integration scheme aimed at sorting, reusing and recycling textiles donated to the organisation.

To meet the expectations of its companions, Emmaus Grenoble launched a series of initiatives several years ago to help them find work after their time in the community. Following the implementation of a training plan and the recruitment of a work integration adviser, the organisation decided to go one step further to meet the needs of people living in extreme hardship who cannot be housed in the community, or those who need extra support to help them to get back into the labour market. In a few key figures, Emmaus Grenoble has 78 companions and recycles over 1,000 tonnes of goods every year, including 450 tonnes of textiles.

How the scheme was created

In 2020, a study was launched to try to find an additional work scheme for the community. Setting up a textile work integration organisation gradually emerged as the best solution. Just like the community, this organisation asserts its specific role in combatting exclusion to institutional partners, by offering opportunities to people who are most excluded from the world of work.

As a symbol of the role played by women in the shadows, Emmaus Grenoble decided to name this workshop after Lucie Coutaz who, alongside Abbé Pierre, has a historical connection to Grenoble. In fact, this is where Lucie was born in 1899. She later met Abbé Pierre in Lyon and co-founded the Emmaus movement.

Launching the workshop

The Lucie Coutaz Workshop launched its second-hand textile sorting, reusing and recycling activities in autumn 2023. In December, it hired its twelfth female employee. It mainly employs women, although the aim is also to recruit men. This workshop has the twin aims of making better use of the textiles donated to the community, while at the same time developing a complementary work integration initiative for vulnerable people in the area.

In autumn 2024, they will join a specific programme called “Convergences”. This programme was created by another French group, Emmaus Défi, and is now an integral part of France’s public policies for people experiencing homelessness. Emmaus grenoble will develop an organisation to welcome these people gradually, with the aim of helping them to get back on their feet through housing and work within a year. The scheme is aimed at people who have experienced long-term homelessness and who are unable to work for more than a few hours a day. It will enable Emmaus Grenoble to bolster its commitment to “serving first those who suffer most”.

France News Tackling Poverty / Solidarity

© Atelier Lucie Coutaz