Project news

A Place to Be-Come Seraing, Belgium Urban poverty

Modifier 31 August 2020 by Laure Gathon, Communication Officer at A place to Become

When socioprofessional inclusion goes with biodiversity

When socioprofessional inclusion goes with biodiversity
Short description
The project “A Place to Be-Come” is taking place in Seraing since September 2019. It was initiated by the nonprofit organization Arebs (Association for the Economic Redeployment of Seraing) and aims at fighting against urban poverty by offering an inclusive and innovative urban planning process. Among the action plan, a nature-based technical training period is foreseen to encourage socio-professional inclusion. Ten citizens from Seraing have been selected by the C.P.A.S (Public Center for Social Actions) to work on the development and management of green spaces in the city center. After several weeks of internship, we collected their feelings with a focus on their daily life.

After a delay, due to COVID-19, the trainees in nature-based management of green spaces, accompanied by the nonprofit organization Natagora (environmental expert), were able to start their training in early June. This training will be running until the end of 2021. Nature-based management of green spaces consists in managing parks by promoting biodiversity and implementing regeneration of soils in a natural way, more respectful to the environment without a loss of quality of the plants. It makes it possible to put in place methods to prevent weeding needs, to use alternative techniques to chemical pesticides while learning to welcome and accept spontaneous vegetation in some places. For this, trainees must go through an apprenticeship of different varieties of plants in the parks, as Kévin explains:

“The difficulty of the job […] is learning theories about plants and trees because there is a lot of informations about different species that trainees need to remember, whether in French or in Latin, and it is true that this requires understanding, listening, practice, to really learn how to differentiate a tree from a plant, from a bark. It’s true that it’s quite complex, but in its complexity, it’s something that I love a lot and I didn’t think I would be into it so much in the end. "

Groupe de stagiaire

A typical day for a trainee is very diversified: you can meet them in the parks cutting hedges, cleaning spaces, or creating composts. But they spend as well time in their dedicated space, to learn different permaculture techniques, cuttings, the medicinal and edible characteristics of plants that can be found in parks. Anthony explains:

“I had absolutely no knowledge of permaculture and […] the nature-based management of green spaces, and I am really interested in everything. I discovered a new passion for everything around medicinal and edible plants. "


Trainees will also work with the manager of the Master Park project, to design and put in place cultivation of plants promoting biodiversity in Seraing’s Parks in order to make pleasant green spaces for all. Since the start of the internship, they have already been able to take into account suggestions from residents, and are satisfied with the relationships they created on these occasions.

“There are some citizens who have a very positive vision of the park in the sense that we shared ideas, things that could be put in place […] and there are some rather interesting things that we also try to set up by discussing with trainers, […] so that we have the satisfaction of a well done job for the residents as well as for us who live here too. So yes, it's true that you see things differently, being on the field."explains Kévin.

Parc des Marêts

Finally, the aim of this theoretical and practical internship is also to contribute to socio-professional reintegration of these people assisted by the C.P.A.S. They all have a different past, but the same desire to embark on a new project:

“Before doing this internship I worked in the cinema industry from 2013 to 2018 and afterwards I had to ask help from the C.P.A.S. Being a nature lover, I was offered this opportunity. I accepted it right away, I went out of my way to get it and here I am! », emphasizes Pascal.

Flawless motivation and a positive adventure for this team, which seems already very united, can be seen. Interns we met were really enthusiastic to keep up this profession after the training period:

"If I have the opportunity to work in the same field after my internship and to be hired by a company, I would accept, without hesitation!» says Kévin.

A project which already promises a very positive future !


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