During a tour of France, a 22-year-old elected official spotted “things that work” in the country

It is a name that is not forgotten and that challenges. The French Federation of Things That Work was launched on Tuesday 22 November 2022 at the Madeleine Theater in Paris. An extravagant title that can make you smile. But behind it, there is a lot of work carried out by an anonymous municipal councilor of Neuvy-sur-Barangeon (Cher). At 22, Raphaël Ruegger spent ten months on the roads of the country to meet the mayors and find already established projects. Ideas that could be taken up anywhere in France.

Leaving on February 10, 2022, after a meeting of the Neuvy-sur-Barangeon city council, Raphaël Ruegger traveled by train and car to all metropolitan areas except Corsica. This business school student and Evidence consultant has slept with elected officials of all political persuasions, in associations, with “dance buddies” in Toulouse (Haute-Garonne), in Lourdes (Hautes-Pyrénées) or in Reims (Marne)… During this trip, he says, “I only slept once in the hotel”.

The citizenship passport in the Vendée

The strategic and communications consultancy firm Evidence had in particular wanted to found the French Federation of Things That Work after spotting an idea implemented by the mayor of Talmont-Saint-Hilaire (Vendée) a few weeks after the attack on Charlie Hebdo. “He inspired this Federation and was one of our first supporters”, confirms Raphaël Ruegger who met him during his tour in France. Maxence de Rugy, candidate invested by Les Républicains in the legislative elections of 2022, created the passport of citizenship in his commune by noting the mobilization of its inhabitants during the tributes to the victims of the act of terrorism committed in 2015.

Every year young people have to perform civic acts such as participating in commemorations, actions in favor of the environment, intergenerational or prevention events. At the end of the year, the child officially receives the famous citizenship passport. “And it hits! ». The idea was then taken up by “a mayor of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur” and the children quickly get involved: this is how the Passport of Citizenship Association was born, which today brings together 400 municipalities, or around 50,000 children.

For the idea of ​​traveling again, the mayor of Talmont-Saint-Hilaire spoke at the Madeleine theater in Paris on Tuesday 22 November 2022 and explained the concept to 600 guests. In addition, he has created a downloadable kit available to elected officials who wish to offer citizenship passports in their territory. “I know that an appointment has already been made between Neuilly-sur-Seine (Hauts-de-Seine) and Talmont-Saint-Hilaire (Vendée)! »enthuses Raphaël Ruegger.

“Beauty will save the world” in Haute-Marne

During his journey, Raphaël Ruegger discovers the city of Saint-Dizier (Haute-Marne). “A city of 25,000 inhabitants that has experienced an industrial and demographic decline. It’s a sleeping beauty with not very nice city entrances and large shopping areas like many medium-sized cities., describes the young man. During the confinement in 2021, Mayor Quentin Briere saw worried and dejected traders and associations parade in his office. “One night, when he couldn’t sleep, he had the idea of ​​installing artwork on all the billboards in the city. Reproductions of great works everywhere! The city has become a huge open-air museum! »

Since few residents had the possibility to telework during the confinement, the idea of ​​fighting the ambient darkness was noticed by the citizens. “It did him good. They felt proud to be from Saint-Dizier. TF1 has also arrived make a report! »observes Raphaël Ruegger.

Convinced that the idea “it is very easily duplicable and simple”invited the mayor of Saint-Dizier to the stage of the Théâtre de la Madeleine. “The Municipality has released a budget of 9,000 euros and this is one of the few topics that has not created any conflict in the municipality”, observes Raphaël Ruegger. Billboards, usually used to announce local events, have thus become ephemeral paintings.

Cheap accommodation for apprentices in the Lot-et-Garonne

One of the six “working” ideas presented on Tuesday 22 November 2022 was born in Lot-et-Garonne and is called Apprentoit. Eleven municipalities in the department, including Lamontjoie, offer accommodation for apprentices. Young people only have to pay €100 a month to live in a studio flat, an unbeatable price on the real estate market. A system that was born in 2013 thanks to a partnership with the Municipalities and the Ciliopée social landlord (which merged with Domofrance in 2020) but also with the support of the chamber of trades and trades.

Alerted by companies struggling to attract apprentices, town halls decided to act. They created apartments in “Abandoned Municipal Buildings Located in City Centers” to solve the problem of youth mobility “instead of creating new bus lines”. A crucial action for the future of these rural areas, Judge Raphaël Ruegger. “A craftsman who cannot pass on his knowledge today will not find a buyer in ten years. The village will then withdraw with him…” In addition to attracting apprentices during their training, cities therefore hope that they will not leave and settle permanently.

And now ?

The launch party of the French federation of things that work, the strategic and communication consultancy firm Evidence must manage to maintain the dynamism and interest around this concept. The Federation website will be updated. “There will be no adhesions but the mayors will be able to propose their ideas on the site, find the coordinates to implement ideas that have already been identified. It will be a sort of catalog of working ideas that everyone can consult and duplicate on their own territory. » Other ceremonies, such as the one on Tuesday November 22, 2022, could be organized every year in Paris but also in the regions.

Raphaël Ruegger is ready to get back on the road to visit overseas territories and Corsica in particular. But before he does, he will have to go back to the benches of Essec to complete his journey.

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