The Abreuvoir General is a place where people can enjoy meeting, connecting, sharing, learning and culture. It is a Third Rural Place where ideas are developed, training and synergies are created in other ways! Claire and Jean-Christophe created this third rural place dedicated to professionals, young people and ecotourism, in 2021. The setting up of a women entrepreneurs’ café, the hosting of seminars, training courses, the organization of breakfasts and afterworks have allowed professionals from the territory to meet, exchange and develop their skills. This project has helped to develop social, economic and cultural links, has promoted access to employment and training, and has contributed to opening up culture for all.
Presentation of the projet
L’Abreuvoir Général is located in Avèze, in the Gard, a village of just over 1000 inhabitants, 3 km from the town center of Vigan, a town of 3700 inhabitants, once known for its silk mills. Housed in an old building in the heart of the village of Avèze, this venue offers both local and local residents and visitors rooms for weekly meetings, training or meetings, rental workspaces and a co-living service. Accommodation is provided for workers who wish to stay on site. Thus four rooms of different capacities are offered, a dormitory and a common area with kitchen and dining room. This place can also be open to tourists seeking conscious and alternative tourism. For a more classic tourist activity, Claire and Jean-Christophe offer an independent cottage (excluding LEADER project). The Abreuvoir Général is a place open to the territory and to all citizens’ initiatives. The hybrid structure of the project allows for solutions tailored to social and environmental needs. The shared workspaces (Coworking / Coliving) are intended for professionals from the territory and outside the territory, companies, employees teleworkers and in particular single-person (self-employed) companies in connection with the Coopératives d’activities et d’emploi. Students are also welcomed here, knowing that there has been a “Connected Campus” facility in Vigan since 2020. Additional services are dedicated to them: residency, accompaniment, training, mentoring with professionals.
The offers of room provision are addressed to associations and companies of the territory and outside the territory (professionals in demand of green work), but also for hosting seminars, immersion courses… The digital mediation spaces (training / workshops) are aimed at school children, adolescents and young adults who are dropping out of school and lack the structures adapted to their needs in the territory. The project evolves and is built around a very rich ecosystem, whether it be around public or private actors. The Caf’tiers, which invites you to enjoy a coffee or a local product (fruit juice, honey pot…), has become a place of exchange for Wednesday afternoons. In 2023, a film workshop was offered to teenagers aged 12 to 18 to learn how to write and make a short film over a 5-day period during the school holidays. Team cohesion seminars were offered throughout the year. The main objectives were, among others, to develop confidence, to get to know the personality, strengths and potentials of each, to better manage his time. LEADER funding was used for site development (acoustic panels, heating, lockers, LED lighting, etc.) and a start-up animation service. The LEADER support helped to strengthen the local networking of this project, which had initially been followed by the social and environmental innovation incubator, Alter’incub in Montpellier. When the project was set up, the LEADER team informed the project owner of the AIDIE facility for a cash advance, which was an important element in the realization of the project.
The emblematic character of the project
This project fully meets the rural development and innovation objectives of the LEADER program. Innovation is social and includes respect for the environment. This place offers atypical services in rural areas: who would have thought to find such a service in the small municipality of Avèze? The general watering trough was able to respond to the challenges of the territory at a time when urban residents were seeking to settle in rural areas. This place gives them the opportunity to stay (for work or leisure), share professional experiences and build skills. Claire and Jean-Christophe set the tone: here, we respect the environment, we do not waste, we favor local producers, we reuse old furniture, we fit an old building in the heart of a village … with taste! Though rural areas have long suffered from a loss of population and dynamism, today they can be developed and revitalized with the advent of the Internet and digital technology. These major societal changes provide favorable conditions for new and hybrid activity carried out by third parties, such as the general watering trough. The general watering trough promotes exchanges, cooperation and the development of activities at the service of the territory and professionals. It is an intergenerational and inclusive place, economic and entrepreneurial, innovative and collaborative. A lively and cultural place! The Abreuvoir Général is also a playground and a space for experimentation. L’Abreuvoir has already welcomed other third-party locations that want to develop the same axes in other territories.
Association Abreuvoir Général