Background to the programme
In 2011-2012, the associations Visages de notre Pilat (The Face of Our Pilat) and Les Amis des livres (Friends of books), from the canton of Pélussin (Pilat Park), organised a collection of memories on the history of the textile industry in Rhone Pilat and presented it to the public in the form of exhibitions, film sessions and walks in the valley that was once occupied by about thirty weaving workshops and mills. This action aroused great interest, following a relatively quiet period on this recent history, since the textiles mills closed in the 60s, weavers workshops in the 80s and the last garment factory closed in 2005. There remains today 100 jobs in 14 companies throughout the whole of Pilat Park from the thousands that existed.
Objectives of the programme
The current president of the Moulinage des rivières association, "discovered" the textile mills at a place called Les Rivières, during one of these visits. Given the quality of the building - for sale, and with craftsmen in need of workshops and shared workspaces, it sought the opinion of a few people to study the feasibility of renovating the former silk factory and installing new activities around textiles or creative activities more generally. Following the encouragement of these heritage associations, but also artisans and the former director of Pilat Park who had supported the creation of a garment cooperative in the 80s, the association was created in January 2013.
Its aims to:
• give new life to the silk mill building, by buying and renovating it
• promote the creation of new uses of textiles
* Create jobs in crafts and tourism
* Share an industrial history that left a mark in Pilat.
In 2013, the drawing up of an architectural study and the costing of refurbishment.
Organisation of activities to test the uses of the site and to bring people together: two-day event, art exhibition, round table on new developments textiles, beginners skill workshops, completion of a collective weaving project, development of the terraced gardens, eco-construction.
In 2014, continued the economic feasibility study and searched for funds and new activities to make links with existing textile companies.
Quantitative and qualitative results from the implemented actions
Project still in its infancy.
Rapid mobilisation undoubtedly related to the initiators' networks, the local-identity characteristic of the project and to the will to support local employment.
90 members, € 900 of donations (without a special appeal), 400 visitors at the weekend "open doors" four months after the creation of the association. Obtaining a grant for the architectural study as part of the Leader of the Pilat Park program and project mentioned in the textile strategy being developed in the Pilat.
Owner agreed to give priority to this project to sell the building.
- The diversity of interests it arouses (heritage, architecture, jobs ...)
- The desire of craftsmen, artists and industrial business to work together and for it to be a place of "experimentation"
- Searching for support for the setting up of a new, productive activity (eg reusing textiles, maintenance of the valley, or other more innovative businesses yet to be found), while many heritage sites and industrial wasteland are more oriented towards the creation of art.
Partnership(s) developed in the context of the programme
- Pilat Regional Natural Park: technical advice from the start, integration into the Leader program, co-organisation of "know-how intertwined" meetings combining visits from textile business and artistic workshop for inhabitants following the visit
- CDDRA (Sustainable Development Grant Rhône Alpes) Rhône Pluriel: Grant
- Network of heritage associations and other local, cultural organisations
- Sponsorship and support from a wealthy person (no cash contribution)
- Exchanges with other sites: Eco-museum of the hat of Chazelles / Lyon, Manufacture of Vidalon in Annonay ...
Difficulties and/or obstacles encountered during the programme’s implementation :
- To find an organisation to support the study of its economic feasibility, given the complexity, the different combination of activities to ensure its viability and the place taken by the property question in the project
- The costs of renovation knowing that still today, public subsidies for buildings with an economic use favour new buildings.
Solutions used to overcome the difficulties and/or obstacles :
- Time needed, but not yet enough money to pay an employee
- Ongoing: call for a pair of students to coordinator social economy and solidarity projects and a consultant to establish different financial scenarios (investment and operation)
- Find solutions yourself
Suggestions for future improvement :
- To structure the association in regular working groups and expand the number of assets: Finance Group, Communication Group
- Create a blog to maintain interest in a project that will advance slowly and prepare the appeal to a local bank
Summary of factors responsible for the programme’s success :
Too early to talk about success!
Importance of communication on the project and on the progress of reflection as it is difficult to make a project understood when it is trying to be innovative
Ideas for basic or applied research topics, that could be useful to the programme :
- Study of economic feasibility capable of predicting different scenarios which incorporate different activities: rental of permanent workshops, rental of temporary workshops, rental of workspaces, selling services on-site or off (event organisation, project support, maintenance of terraced gardens, eco-renovation training)
- Legal Study for the establishment of a SCIC (cooperative society of collective interest)