Action that embraces the values of transmission and savoir-faire. Founded in France in 1966, Union Rempart is now a federation of 170 not-for-profit associations operating at the local and regional level to safeguard heritage sites and promote social cohesion. The Union carries out restoration work and organises visitor activities at a range of sites, thereby promoting local development and the teaching of traditional building and renovation techniques.
Each project is open to volunteers, including young people aged 18 to 25 in situations of difficulty (no longer in education or employment, or affected by family conflicts or social problems). After an introductory session and an on-site ‘discovery day’, the volunteers can register to work on any Union Rempart project for two to three weeks. Supervised by skilled artisans, they go on to learn traditional techniques and appreciate the value of daily work. At the completion of the project, each volunteer receives a booklet highlighting the transferable skills that he or she has acquired.
Escaping isolation and boosting future employment prospects, learning from skilled professionals, being part of a diverse team, discovering traditional techniques. A mutually-enriching exchange. A fresh start.