Location of the initiative:
Relation to Strategy 21 Recommendations:
Brief description of the initiative:
Founded in 1980, which was Heritage year in France, the national association Chantiers Histoire & Architecture Mediévales (C.H.A.M) takes action to promote the built heritage.
The association organises different types of projects: voluntary worksites (in spring and summer), school workshops, integration programmes, technical training courses and lectures and so on. It also organises heritage awareness workshops in schools.
The association supports the national Universal Civic Service scheme, assigning volunteers to long-term worksites or to the projects office.
The C.H.A.M intervenes at the request of local, regional or national authorities which own monuments and draws up partnership agreements with them for the work to be done.
C.H.A.M is a non-profit association approved by the Ministry of Culture, with national Youth and Popular Education certification and the endorsement of the Civic Service Agency. In 2018 it was awarded the European Year of Cultural Heritage seal of approval.
The volunteer worksites are open to anyone wishing to devote some of their time to protecting and restoring built heritage. They provide an enriching human experience for the volunteers, thanks to the cultural diversity of the participants and the importance of team work on site.
No prior training is required: supervisors are there to explain everything and train the participants on the job.
This experience of field work is an opportunity for the volunteers to familiarise themselves with stonemasonry and bricklaying techniques, how to make mortar and so on. It gives them first-hand understanding of the different challenges involved in heritage conservation. It is a formative experience which also benefits the community, by helping to save and restore run-down buildings which form part of the local heritage and belong to local authorities who cannot afford to restore them on their own. It is a unique way to spend one’s holidays while at the same time doing something practical and useful for the heritage.
Objectives of the initiative:
- Education, training of volunteers (developing their responsibility and autonomy and learning technical skills) and raising awareness in local officials and inhabitants
- social and vocational integration
- lasting protection and restoration of buildings
Brief assessment of the initiative’s results:
- Over 150 projects working on private or public monuments, religious or secular
- 80 civic service initiatives per year, in France and overseas
- 225 volunteers per year
- Over 200 members every year
5-7, rue Guilleminot
Tel.: 01 43 35 15 51