Supporting the voluntary sector in France
The CEB’s loan to Crédit Coopératif ensures that vital services are provided to persons with disabilities and other vulnerable groups.
The voluntary sector in France forms an integral part of the solidarity-based economy and plays a decisive role in the medico-social and education fields. The majority of players in this sector are referred to as General Interest Organisations (Organismes d’intérêt général - OIG), often operating in the legal form of associations.
These OIGs are essential to maintaining social cohesion. In the medico-social field, about 35 000 non-profit institutions provide services to persons with disabilities and persons experiencing difficulties of all age groups: from toddlers, children and teenagers to adults and the elderly.
One example of such organisations is the OIG GRAVIR (Groupement d’accueil et de vie en institution rurale) which, since its foundation in 1972, has managed a medico-social centre in the municipality of Diusse, France. Every day, the institution receives adults with disabilities, referred to it by the Maison Départementale pour Personnes Handicapées, as part of the assistance-through-work scheme (ESAT).
ESAT allows persons with disabilities to work in protected environments, which is crucial for those without enough autonomy to be able to work in ordinary settings. GRAVIR proposes various types of rural or artisanal activities, including agriculture, gardening, masonry and craftwork.
In 2012, GRAVIR and the local housing office constructed a building to enable both young and elderly persons with disabilities to pursue assistance-through-work. Funding provided by the CEB through Crédit Coopératif made it possible to finance the extension and refurbishment of the three blocks of the residential home.
Public funding on the decline
The steady decline in central government grants to local authorities in the course of the last decade is having a direct impact on the voluntary sector. Between 2005 and 2014, the latter suffered a fall in grant aid of approximately 17% and is in danger of losing 30% of public funding between now and 2017. Over the same period, donations and patronage fell by 5%. As a result, many OIGs are confronted with difficulties in ensuring the continuity of their work and putting together their investment projects.
The CEB support the solidarity-based economy
Recognising the importance of actively supporting public interest entities, the CEB has granted a total of € 500 million in financing to Crédit Coopératif since 2007. The funds have been earmarked for public infrastructure projects aiming to improve the quality of life in urban and rural areas, health, education and environmental protection in France.
In November 2015 the CEB approved a new € 100 million loan to Crédit Coopératif to increase its long-term resources. The funds will be used to support projects in the fields of health and education for the benefit of vulnerable groups.
Crédit Coopératif is a major player in the French social and solidarity-based economy. Through its 70 branches across the country, it provides financing to non-profit organisations serving the needs of persons who are made vulnerable by their economic situation, disability or age.