Association des Centres Sociaux de Wattrelos

: Aug 8, 2016

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Wattrelos Association of Community Centres was created in 1969, in order to unify all the community centres located in the town of Wattrelos, Northern France.

Wattrelos has a long textile industry history. The first “wattrelosian” community centre appeared in 1948 in the form of child protection services, resulting from a  philantropic welfare capitalism initiative. At that time, wealthy merchant families undertook social duties in order to respond to the needs and issues faced by working class families and maintain the social order.

Today, ACSW has inherited of three community centres: Le Laboureur (in the town centre), La Mousserie (Western part), and L’Avenir (Eastern part).


We provide services and develop activities for the benefit of 1900 families living in a multi-ethnic environment : daycare nurseries, parent-child homes, after-school clubs and day camps offering leisure and sports activities to young people, cultural and educational trips for children and families, community counselling and advisory services for local residents, help from social workers, etc. ACSW has also widened its activity in 1983, with the creation of the SSIAD providing home care service for elderly people. Finally, in 2009 the local futsal club joined the Association to offer more indoor football activities to the local residents and create positive change through various solidarity initiatives.


ACSW users have established a set of shared values and aims called “The Project of the Association”. These are the core principles of our Association, the ideals that we all have decided to act for and pursue through this common Project:

- Laïcité is one of the main principles of the French Republic. It means respect those who believe and those who do not believe in religion. ACSW users act for the promotion of diversity, freedom of thought and mutual understanding.

 - Respect means to greet each other, communicate, listen and accept each other’s opinions and beliefs. Our users promote toleration, fight discrimination, act for environmental protection and respect our material and premises, in order to ensure that future generations can also benefit from the Association.

 - Solidarity and Commitment : ACSW users fight against social isolation, reaching out the less fortunate or those who feel lonely. Being part of a local community includes an individual commitment to act for the benefit of the society at large. Therefore, our users have developed a solidarity chain in which everyone is able to make everyone else’ life better; by giving, helping and sharing in accordance with their own capacities.

 - Democracy: ACSW promotes active citizenship in general as well as active participation of our users in the decision-making process of the Association. Giving a voice to our users is one of our core principles whilst ensuring that volunteers, professionals and decision-makers are being heard. All our users are represented by the elected president of their Users Committees ( one in each community centre). Then, the three Presidents of the Users Committees, as well as Staff Representatives are invited to join the Board of ;Maintaining a permanent democratic dialogue within our organisation is an ongoing concern.


Our ambition is to develop further lifelong learning experiences for families from the local community through international cooperation and non-formal education.

We promote active citizenship and European mobility as levers to skills development and employability; and intercultural learning as lever to mutual understanding, toleration, respect and social inclusion.

ACSW board members, staff members and volunteers have a long experience with youth work at local, national and international level. ACSW has also a full-time European Projects Manager whose mission mainly consists of: liaising with potential international partners; establishing effective and durable European partnerships; developing and implementing European projects together with our team of youth leaders.

Keywords and matching areas:

 Capacity Building
 Social Innovation
 Social Affaires and Inclusion
 Youth Exchanges
 Youth Workers
 Cross-border cooperation

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