Social emergency and inclusion with ALYNEA

The partnership between Gattefossé Foundation and the Alynea association from Lyon, which promotes ​​solidarity and fight against exclusion, durated for five years. It covered various aspects and types of action, from social emergency to integration. 


Logo ALYNEA Association Lyon

Jérôme Colrat, director of the Alynéa association, received the “Community Project” Prize from the Acteurs de l’économie-La Tribune magazine and the Rhône-Alpes Centre des Jeunes Dirigeants d’entreprise (Rhône-Alpes Young business leaders organisation) at Lyon’s CCI (Chamber of Commerce and Industry) in June 2015. The prize recognises individuals who set an example through their hard work and service to others and to their community.

For five years, Gattefossé Foundation has been very proud to support such an initiative and contribute to various solidarity and integration projects.

Learn more about ALYNEA association


Restoration of equipment in shelters for single women


The Point Nuit Centre in Croix-Rousse and the Auvent Centre in Perrache, ran by Alynéa, are places where single women or women with children in serious trouble can take refuge. The equipment at these centres was no longer meeting current standards relating to comfort, hygiene and safety: showers, bedding and kitchens all needed restoring. The Foundation’s support has meant that 5 walk-in showers could be restored, adapted in terms of their architecture for a community, socially useful and morale-boosting and that 25 mattresses could be replaced.

Work was then started on renewing the kitchens at both Point Nuit and Auvent. The restoration of these facilities contributed to the restoration of these fragile women’s ability to take ownership of their often degraded social representation, their desire to once again belong to a community with a renewed sense of well-being, their ability to prepare their children’s meals in hygienic conditions while sharing a special moment in their mother-child relationship.

Photo report of the association’s activities


As a major player in the fight against exclusion, the Alynéa association wants to help change the collective representation of these men and women who survive on the streets. The Foundation asked photographer Jean-Jacques Bernard to compile a photo report on the lives of people taking refuge in shelters, to help the association better illustrate the many different faces of social emergency: “By showing Alynéa’s shelters we can make visible what was invisible, and attract attention to the kind of people we generally prefer not to see, because we are embarrassed, frightened, or scared of ending up like that ourselves.”

This photo report was used by the association to update its website and to illustrate its institutional communication documents. After having been displayed at the Gattefossé headquarters, the photographs are now hung in the association’s offices, corridors, common areas or meeting rooms in Oullins.

Educational apartments for female victims of domestic violence


90% of women who come to Auvent (a shelter that is ran by Alynéa) with their children are victims of domestic violence and are estranged from their families. They come to us of their own accord to get away from a chaotic life because they need some time to regain their confidence. Alynéa helps them to work through administrative, legal, and psychological issues. However, after staying at Auvent, the women do not always feel ready to live on their own again. We therefore needed a place where the women could once again learn to live, by taking ownership of the everyday realities of living semi-independently. In 2013, Alynéa created two apartments operating as a simplified joint-stock corporation provides a gentler transition to independent living. The Foundation focused its support on funding refurbishment work and on material equipment.

Welcoming integration interns for company visits


Alynéa’s Employment and Training department helps jobseekers between 16 and 60 years of age in their professional integration journey. Company visits allow interns to broaden their career paths through meetings and discovering a trade or sector into which they could potentially move.

Gattefossé organised a visit to its oleochemical production plant in St Priest. Interns discovered what it’s really like in a production plant of fine chemical excipients for clients in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. All issues were discussed freely: safety, Gattefossé’s activity, product quality standards, human relations, environment protection, working in a factory, shift work, etc. How to dispel certain preconceptions about the industry and maybe even inspire people…


Communicating in palliative social work


The Foundation helped to organise a debate on: “Palliative social work: a pipe dream or a way out of severe exclusion?” Society’s consideration of the issue of poverty has decreased in recent years. Fragile populations are being more and more firmly rejected. How, then, can we restore acceptance of the work carried out by organisations striving to provide an emergency response to people in situations of severe exclusion?

Implementing a psychiatric continuity for people living in the streets


“Today, the shelter organisation is very different from the structure established almost 40 years ago”, explains Jérôme Colrat, Director of Alynéa. “Those who come to us are in a very fragile physical and psychiatric psychological condition but our centres are organised for social work, not medico-social work. Yet, if we want to continue our uncompromising acceptance, we must take the issue of mental health into account in a multi-disciplinary approach”.

The support of the Foundation in 2015 resulted in the launch of this initiative, providing the skills of a part-time psychiatrist and putting the initiative to the test within a short period of time before expanding it and advocating on its behalf among the public authorities.