Associations and volunteer sites
The Ministry of Culture is accompanied in its action by associations of defense of the heritage and by the organizing associations of volunteer sites that contribute to the knowledge and conservation of historical monuments, remarkable heritage sites and cultural heritage in general.
Several thousand associations are active in safeguarding the monumental heritage. Some of them include owners of historic monuments. Others gather friends of such and such a renowned monument, or devote themselves to defending a threatened building. Learned societies, at national or local level, are a powerful vector of knowledge of monuments and sites.
These associations are privileged partners of the state. They are listened to, often followed in their proposals. A fruitful dialogue has gradually been established; their role is recognized and their action appreciated.
This is the case in particular of seven national associations recognised as being of public utility and a foundation which take part in the reflections of the Directorate-General for Heritage and Architecture within the framework of the national grouping for information and consultation on heritage, created in 2005 and renewed in 2016 for five years. The purpose of this grouping is to promote consultation and exchange of information between the State and recognized national associations of public utility, of safeguarding and enhancing the built and landscape heritage. Its meetings allow the State to present draft laws and statutory instruments and to discuss all matters relating to the conservation of monumental heritage.
The Ministry of Culture has established a partnership with some of these national associations by signing with them a multi-year or annual agreement on projects that are specific to them but in the general interest. It then provides financial support for the actions they carry out: organization of training and volunteer projects, publication of books and technical reviews, awareness-raising, organizing congresses or symposia whose purpose is precisely the protection or promotion of heritage, or sponsoring competitions.
Moreover, since the Law of 7 July 2016 on freedom of creation, architecture and heritage, the Heritage Code gives an essential place to associations in national and regional heritage bodies, as well as to representatives of the administration, local elected officials and qualified personalities. Thus, the national heritage associations constitute one of the four colleges of each of the 7 sections of the National Heritage and Architecture Commission, and each of the three sections of the regional heritage and architecture commissions.
Means of intervention
This policy is implemented by the Directorate-General for Heritage, the network of regional cultural affairs directorates, which act in close partnership with local authorities and regional cultural actors and other State services.
The Ministry of Education, Youth and Community Life has dedicated a site to associations.
Associations of owners of historical monuments
Associations for safeguarding heritage
Associations of volunteer sites
For many years, the Ministry of Culture has been providing financial and technical support to volunteer heritage restoration projects organized by the associations. It intends, through their mobilization around concrete actions, to promote the awareness of young people to safeguard the national architectural heritage and prepare them for an exercise of citizenship.
In 2020, the total amount of aid allocated by the central administration of the Ministry of Culture to the three major national associations: «Union Rempart», «Chantiers Histoire et Architecture Médiévales - CHAM» and «Club du Vieux Manoir», for the organization of 210 training courses and volunteer sites for more than 2,100 trainees, amounted to nearly €500,000.
Since 1980, the association C.H.A.M has been working in favour of built heritage in mainland France and overseas. The association organizes restoration projects with volunteers or volunteers on a Universal Civic Service mission, during the holidays or throughout the year. The association also contributes to Heritage Education, especially among school groups, by offering workshops to raise awareness of heritage.