French social enterprise Chênelet is creating employment opportunities in sustainable construction, catering and hosting activities through the creation of eco-guest houses, ‘gites ruraux’ in French.
Set up in 1992, Chênelet’s mission is to help financially vulnerable people from the Pas de Calais area to find work. It is also aimed at the continued development and improvement of environmentally friendly construction techniques. The marriage of these two aims creates not only a sustainable jobs market, but also contributes to the progress of eco-construction techniques, which can be applied to social housing.
By building five guest houses for the Eco-Gîtes Solidaires project, Chênelet will be able to: offer employment opportunities in construction for 15 people; create a dozen jobs in catering and hosting roles in the guest house; find employment for people with disabilities as the guest houses will have access facilities built in. The founder of Chênelet is an eminent social entrepreneur and Ashoka Fellow who ensures that the building materials used are always sourced locally.
In 2014, the guest houses were completed with built-in disabled access facilities.