Background to the programme
The Bagagerie d’ANTIGEL was founded in 2010 by people who used to do soup runs from the parish of Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Grenelle in the 15th arrondissement of Paris. After several years on soup runs, they decided to create a calm and secure place where luggage from people living in the street could be stored. The operation of this space is inspired by the "Les mains libres" (Hands Free) luggage service at Les Halles (Paris).
Objectives of the programme
- Give users a quiet and secure place to store their luggage, allow people to rest and renew social ties
- Involve people from the street in building and maintaining a personal project
- Implement activities and workshops with users to enable them to exercise their skills, regain confidence in themselves and get them moving
- Develop a network of local partners to facilitate the search for work and housing
- Open 365 days a year in the morning (7:00-9:00) and evening (20:00-22:00)
- Premises of 130sqm composed of: 1 resting space + 48 lockers for luggage of 0.5m3 + 1 computer room (free access computers) + 1 library + 1 kitchen + 1 cloakroom + 1 office
- Conditions for access: make an initial first step towards partnered associations for domiciliation and ask for support from the Bagagerie.
- Support by volunteers and a salaried facilitator (procedures related to work, housing and health, drafting of administrative paperwork, CV ...) A schedule of activities and workshops is displayed in the Bagagerie.
- Activities developed: cultural outings, theatre, cinema, workshops (drawing, yoga, music, computers, jam, blog ...)
- Revitalisation through sport: "remobilisation" internships and visits with the Association «Un Ballon pour l’Insertion » ("A Balloon for Integration")
Quantitative and qualitative results from the implemented actions
On average from October 2010 to March 2014:
- On average 48 users welcomed regularly at the Bagagerie. Up to 70 people accommodated over one year.
- 30% of users come from the streets
- The place represents an essential reference point in the lives of users, morning and evening: re-establishing social ties, rediscovery of expressing feelings and emotions (blog), remobilisation of most users, and taking of responsibility
- Relayed by the media (newspaper articles: Liberation, Le Parisien, La Croix, Le Pèlerin and Reporters d’Espoir)
The initiative is not limited to the free availability of a luggage service. This is a place of trust as much as to store things securely as to re-socialise people. It is a place to stay, a stopover, a first filter to regain your footing. And through their participation in various activities (dynamic workshops, sharing of administrative responsibilities ...), users are gradually called on to reintegrate.
Partnership(s) developed in the context of the programme
- Representative associations providing domiciliation for users and providing new candidates: Montparnasse Rencontres, Foyer de Grenelle, Aux Captifs la Libération and Cœur du Cinq
- Association’s partners in the field of housing (Aurora, Valgiros, APA, Sainte-Geneviève Association), work (Solidarités Nouvelles face au Chômage - SNC) and health (medical centre on rue Miollis, Ste Anne Hospital SMES)
- Link with public powers: Regional and Interdepartmental Directorate of Accomodation and Housing (DRIHL), City of Paris, Mayor of 15th and parliamentarians
Difficulties and/or obstacles encountered during the programme’s implementation :
- Financial difficulties: cost of rent of the premises and securing the annual budget
- Finding the right balance between welcoming people from the street (who can act aggressively or violently) and the peaceful atmosphere needed and desired by users
Solutions used to overcome the difficulties and/or obstacles :
- Strong links with parishes, donors, associations, private foundations and public authorities (newsletters, quests, multi-year agreements ...) but a delicate balance
- Maintain a peaceful atmosphere: temporary exclusion of certain users (rarely permanent) and training of volunteers (knowledge of people from the street, alcohol, violence, etc)
Suggestions for future improvement :
- Give more help in looking for work
- Develop new workshops
Summary of factors responsible for the programme’s success :
- User participation: in the initial construction of the associative project, in the organisation of outings and activities (steering committee) and in the Board of Directors (3 members are users)
- Centre: not closed on any day since its creation (guaranteed daily access) and without time limit (some users have been there for more than 4 years)
- The workshops really help users express their skills and regain confidence in themselves.
- An important network that’s useful for recruiting volunteers, collecting donations, welcoming users and helping with processes
- Kind of "familial" relationships among users and volunteers (no supported relationships)
- Regular meetings and telephone interviews with associations and managers of the Bagagerie (managers of the centre, President, sponsors, facilitators) ...
- Regular rotation of those admitted which frees up lockers for new arrivals