An old train station transformed into a school-hostel for young disabled people

20 years, the age of all possibilities. For young people with mental disabilities, this is the age without perspective. T Cap’ 21, who does not see it that way, sees a great future for them. The association has transformed the disused station of Niolon, near Marseille, into a unique place, both a hostel and a training school. This pilot project will be launched elsewhere, in France. His name? Train Inc’ Cafe.

Sand on the ground and jute pergola @Marcelle

Tourists approach the refreshment bar set up in the garden of Niolon station. Lucie, with a wide smile and sparkling eyes, doesn’t wait for her order, she says: ” I can offer you do you drink Unfazed by the characteristics of ”Lulu”, carrier of trisomy 21, the group makes an order. And he joins the many customers who came to enjoy the coolness of the place while waiting for the train that runs along the valleys of the Côte Bleue, northwest of Marseille.

They don’t stop at the Train Inc’ Café (also known as ”TIC”) for pity or for a good deed, but for the setting and the ” friendly decor ” says Juliette. The girl points to the sand on the ground and the pergola covered with hessian coffee bags, the raw wood tables and furniture made from recycled pallets. And behind, the flourishing vegetable garden.

  • The future of a 20-year-old with a mental disability? Home, the fire of life. Or, for the lucky ones, theExactly (Help center through work) which only employs disabled workers.

Training in service professionals, catering, hotels, gardens, etc.

Sea view from the guest room on the second floor of @Marcelle station

Since its opening in July, the TIC has been full. In addition to the cafe, it welcomes in the three rooms on the second floor – wooden floor and sea view – guests happy to spend a few days in this tourist place. In the back, a dozen young people from the T Cap’21 are trained in various trades – catering, hotels, gardens, sewing, baking (the association has a kneading machine), wood.

But also a house painter because it is the association that renovated this beautiful building with its own hands at the beginning of 1900, apart from the major works. The layout was carried out voluntarily by the students of ENSAD (Arts-Deco) in Paris, excited by this major project.

  • Train Inc’ Café: Train as “to train” = train. Inc’ as ”Inclusion”

Employees, like others

A station transformed into a hostel-school for young people with disabilities 2
Pierre-Laurent, service at the counter @Marcelle

It must be said that the association hits hard with this inn-school. It not only trains young people with mental disabilities in jobs that recruit in the mainstream, but also offers a salaried contract. An important detail for Katia Bergamelli, president of the T Cap’21 association and Lucie’s mother: ” This means for our young people who are “part of society”: they are paid a minimum minimum wage and pay their social contributions, unlike Esat where they are only compensated by the state “.

And in ordinary

In addition to financial recognition, the activity is more exciting for some. Pierre-Laurent, for example, prefers contact with the public, at the Train Inc’ Café, rather than the solitude of his position, in his Esat in Marseille, where he deals with the packaging of food products. ” vsWhat I like is the service “confirms this 28-year-old, while holding the hand of Lulu, his recent lover. The 25-year-old girl, until now in a Foyer de Vie, prefers to wash the dishes, “orcall me Miss Plonge “. And Nathan, he is happy to ” do the garden “.

Training here and elsewhere

T Cap'21
“Going further with T Cap’21” @Marcelle

For the association, training is a priority. Young people benefit from theoretical lessons on site (teaching phrases, clothing, etc.) and enrich their experience by doing internships in other restaurants. Etik (formerly Simply Food, Voyageurs Privés company restaurant) in Aix or L’Oiseau Rieur in La Ciotat, where Pierre-Laurent still worked the day before. ” Miriam (editor’s note) he gave me a lot of money “, says the young man very proudly, pointing with his fingers 42 euros. ” These are the tips “, describes Katia Bergamelli.

  • The right to work is enshrined in our Constitution. But many employers prefer to pay a fine to theAGEFIPHUS where the FIPHFPrather than hiring a person with a disability.

A bistro with organic vegetables from the garden

Baker training is also provided at Train Inc’Café @T Cap’ 21

Lulu also likes to prepare salads and meals with vegetables from the garden – about forty. This snack, proposed this summer, will give way to a bistro in November. The chef, who works in a restaurant in the Niolon region, expects this significant position, with organic or reasonable products, and home-made dishes, ” even puff pastry “, specifies the president of the association.

Of course, there will also be good organic bread – six or seven different – made by young people. The association will soon repatriate its mess, currently in the bakery-trainer Un pain C’est Tout, in Gréasque.

On-site accommodation for young workers

Miss Dive
Nathan, budding gardener, and Lucie, “Miss Plonge” @Marcelle

The first ” brigade will include six young people hired in the fall with permanent part-time contracts. Someone in quarter time like Lulu who wants to continue the Leaf of Life because, even if it is not stimulated at all, it is ” everyone [ses] friends “. Those who live far away can sleep on site, in the rooms on the first floor, which are reserved for them.

For Pierre-Laurent, it’s not a problem, he lives in a train station, in Ensuès-la-Redonne.” in an apartment alone near my mother’s house “. A dozen other young people will join the team in the coming years with a CDD Tremplin. This contract of four months to two years will allow them to train to find a ” ordinary work “.

Travel agent and sports guide jobs

Niolon station
Apprentice painters for the renovation of the Niolon station @T Cap’21

Other professions will be close, thanks to the ideal location of the Train Inc’ Café, next to the exit of the Marseille-Miramas train and on the edge of the Calanque de Niolon. For example, the profession of travel agent ” indicate the beginning of the customs path, the beach or even the activities proposed in the cove “, explains Katia Bergamelli. Or that of a sports guide thanks to a partnership with a paddle rental association.” They will take customer reservations in the station, while downstairs they will help with the launch », Specifies this ultra-dynamic square, made available by its employer, the CMA-CGM.

Many youth projects

niolon station
The creek of Niolon, with the station attached

On the catering side, the association is full of ideas. It is planned to collaborate with the UCPA of Niolon, a sports center that ” it also has a cafe, accommodation and a boat launch. So potential starches…”, smiled the president.

He also plans piano lessons for young people, with the association “À la scope de tous”, on the instrument proposed by “Les Passeurs de Piano”. This association of Avignon has also offered him a carcass that will be the future bar. As part of the sewing workshop, the young people will put shelf value in bags, sold on site, “ with a burlap exterior “.

And the inhabitants

Flower Festival
“Festival en Fleurs”, piano festival at the Train Inc Café

As Factory of Third Place of the Territories (bonus), the association offers activities for residents, such as a coworking space on the ground floor. with digital tablets available “. And, of course, he intends to continue the open stage with shows or concerts (the piano festival in July was a success), some performed by the young people themselves.

  • T Cap’ 21 as a project of Capacity, Self-determination and Life. And of course, like ”you are hood”.

An obstacle course

T Cap'21
The permaculture garden in its infancy, in 2021 @T Cap’21

The Train Inc’ Café seems like a fairy tale, since there are so many partners (see bonus). This was not always the case. We had to deal with the slowness of the process: convincing Gare & Connexion, the owner of the place, then waiting for the keys for three years. Fill out the form to receive the approval “Adapted company” in associational form (see bonus).

And convince the other parents of the association – mainly single mothers – of the solidity of the project with work commissions”, for them to adhere and participate “. It was not won. Katia Bergamelli, who may be too bold in the eyes of more mothers” protective with her child, she almost finds herself alone.

Convince the locals

It was also necessary to remove the 500 m2 of fallow garden – a real dump – then modify the land. He convinced the inhabitants of the calanca, rather cautious, to welcome the disabled into their homes.

Finally, patience with the craftsmen, among those who no longer come – or almost never because of their work – and the dishonest, “scrupulous with the handicap”.

But also great stories

Scouts and Guides France
Signaling workshop with the Scouts and Guide France @T Cap’21

At the same time, this project has attracted, like a magnet, beautiful energies that come to lend a hand. The Scouts et Guides de France de Lyon carried out the signaling with young people, one week in July, with drift wood collected on the shore. The priests, then clients of the restoration, helped the volunteers, such as Pierre Stocker (father of Lulu and father of the rehabilitation), to put up the pergola. Dylan, a web developer in Marseille, gave his time to work and to accompany young people.

Change the attitude of the society

At this time, a volunteer from Aude, Alain, also suspended his activity to activate the development work in the attic, on the top floor. Future guest house.

Finally, the inhabitants, now conquered by the project, imagine ” many things with young people. Like renovating walking paths or gardening together in the garden. A victory for Katia Bergamelli. It intends to change the way society sees through an approach that ” moves away from wretchedness and positively surprises the audience “.

Spread the concept

Katia Bergamelli
Katia Bergamelli, the day of the delivery of the keys in 2021

T Cap’ 21 has the ambition, not to make a profit, but to be economically viable. After two months of activity, the association tripled the expected profits. Katia Bergamelli knew that the business model held. And that the project was going to explode,” and again, we do not advertise “.

The ambitious, supported by Sylvain Bucquet of the iconic Philae firm (see bonus) wants to expand Train Inc’ Café elsewhere. ” vsar there are not enough facilities for the mentally disabled and the model is ultimately simple – a disused station, an association and partnerships “. It has since inspired Gare & Connexion. The company launched La Place de la Gare (formerly 1001 Gares) throughout France with equally innovative and useful projects. ♦

What can be a social start-up?  5

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[pour les abonnés] Project partners – “Suitable company” approval – Finance –

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