Renault Trucks SAS employees really do have a heart and they’ve shown it! They have just handed over a cheque for €30,000 to the Docteur CLOWN association. The donation is the result of four months’ intense fundraising activity. Four months during which employees dreamt up and organised thirty or so events (chess and poker tournaments, Christmas decorations workshop, sporting challenges, sales of cakes and books, etc.). Their one and only objective was to bolster the funds for this Lyon-based association which sends clowns into hospitals to raise a smile amongst sick children.
On Tuesday January 18th, the headquarters of Renault Trucks SAS, in the Lyon area, had a real party feel to it. The employees of the French commercial vehicle manufacturer, via Pascale Mezie, head of communications at the Renault Trucks site in Lyon, handed over a cheque for €30,000 to Mireille Imbaud, president of the Docteur CLOWN association, who said that she was “touched by this massive effort which has come not from the management of a company but from employees who have made a good cause their own”. Speaking directly to the employees present, she said: “You are all proud to belong to the great Renault Trucks family, proud of your drivers, proud of road transport… And now you can also be extremely proud of your commitment to the Docteur CLOWN association to help children in hospital. Thanks to you and the clowns, children of all ages will be able to take a break from their illness for a few moments.”
The presentation of the cheque took place in front of a hundred or so Renault Trucks employees who supported the plethora of events in favour of the association, plus Bernard Lacombe, president of the association, Stefano Chmielewski, CEO of Renault Trucks SAS, Gérard Amiel, director of human resources and Michel Dupin, director of the Renault Trucks Lyon site. The workgroup which supported the Docteur CLOWN marathon will meet at the end of the month and a questionnaire will be sent out to employees to get an idea of what actions they would like to plan for 2011.
Docteur CLOWN is a regional association based in Lyon whose objective is to cheer up hospitalised children using professional clowns. In April 2010, at the end of a vast internal consultation, almost 60% of the 5,200 Renault Trucks SAS head office employees chose to support Docteur CLOWN. “Three associations were proposed to the employees. Docteur CLOWN literally won the day. In my view, two things explain this choice,” says Pascale Mezie, who co-ordinated all the actions involved. “On the one hand, even though the association operates regionally it is deeply rooted in Lyon. And also, it looks after sick children in hospitals and I think that really gets through to people.”
Employees from the different departments did all they could to raise as much money as possible. For four months, from September to December 2010, they ran a veritable marathon which involved thirty or so events: a play, a giant paella, crochet and knitting workshops, sale of figurines, cakes and second-hand books, chess and poker tournaments, a bring & buy sale, sports challenges and a Christmas decorations workshop to name but a few. For each event, the objective was to bring in as many employees as possible and to collect as much money as possible. Each event attracted more and more people: twenty attended the chess tournament, 80 the sports challenge, 100 the giant paella, 200 each performance of the play...
For Florence, one of the employees who took an active role in the operation, this adventure was an opportunity to federate employees around a (good) cause: “Beyond the cheque that we’ve been able to donate, collectively we experienced something very beneficial. There was real desire and enthusiasm and you could see it in the eyes of those taking part. We all felt together at those moments! We worked together for a common cause which went beyond our professional responsibilities and our different departments. Without looking for it and without really knowing we were doing so, we seemed to create better cohesion on the Lyon site.”