Tuesday, 22 April 2014

S is for Sociétés

The Société or Association has a very special place in the fabric of French society. It takes a bit of getting used to, but after a year, we are finally beginning to understand.

Every commune has a clutch of Associations. We have a choice of Tarot, local history, watercolour painting and several others aimed at children and young people. On the surface, the Association is a club. It is a group of like minded people getting together to practise an activity or share a passion.

But a Société enjoys rights and privileges in the commune that other organisations do not. Free room hire is one. Copious free promotion in the local newsletter is another.

And this is why the Association is fascinating to an outsider. It is as though our entertainment is enshrined in the Constitution. We have the right to have our free time occupied in companionable activity and thus it must be facilitated by the State.

There is a statute and a legal structure. An Association must have a board, a responsable and an accountant. There is an AGM and a requirement for bureaucratic reporting. All this so that we can enjoy our stamp collecting or marble rolling with amitié.

Try running classes or offering workshops as an individual and you will soon see the benefit of jumping through the red tape to set up as an Association.

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