“The English have Arrived!

La Semaine Bleue (Blue Week) is the National Week for Retired and Older People in France. Scheduled from 15-21 October, the theme for 2012-2013 was Ageing and Acting Together in the Community.

Launched in 1951, this event aims to inform and educate the public about the contributions of retirees to economic, social and cultural life, about the concerns and challenges faced by older people, as well as the achievements and projects of associations. For 2012, the Blue Week's theme fitted perfectly within the framework of the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations.

Six senior citizens from Crewe & Nantwich took part in the week.The visit was organised by Marie-Paule Cervos, the Deputy Mayor for International Relations and Tourism and Annick Blanchard, who was involved in organising La Semaine Bleue. Highlights included a mini-Olympics, a visit to Lyon, afternoon entertainments and a formal meeting focussing on the differing ways the elderly were supported in Britain and in France. This meeting was reported in the local press and their report and a translation can be seen below.

As part of the plan for the Blue Week six senior citizens from Crewe in England were staying in Mâcon. On the Friday they took part in a meeting at the housing complex for the elderly 'Épinoches-Cerisaies' to exchange ideas on the daily life of the retired: the social services available,community transport, residential homes, health insurance, relations between the generations, the family, safety issues, access for the handicaped etc.

They discussed the universal problems that are becoming commonplace as society changes in response to the pressure of profit and a growing individualism despite the efforts of numerous voluntary organisations directed at senior citizens both cultural and sport based.

This brief exchange of ideas which took place in front of the many people responsible for organising activities for senior citizens was concluded with a pleasant convivial lunch.

We have a comprehensive report of the activities of the various elements of Mâcon Social Services in 2011. If you would like to read this please contact the webmaster - webmaster@canta.org.uk

Mâcon has an excellent sporting association for the over 50's led by their President, Bernard Combier. With almost 700 members 15 different activities are offered including rambling,cross-country skiing, dance and gymnastics. Their website is here.

Some pictures of the visit are available here.

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