Inclusive intergenerational apartment shares from Tim & Colette  

Based in Lyon, the non-profit social organisation Tim & Colette offers solutions for apartment sharing between young people and older adults. With backing from the Fondation VINCI, they also enjoy the support of Arnaud Bidet, Regional HR Manager for VINCI Facilities Ouest Rhône-Alpes.

For Arnaud Bidet, a Coureur du Cœur in the VINCI Energies team that supported Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque in the Étape du Tour 2023, solidarity plays a key role in his personal and professional life. In this interview, he shares his experience as a Fondation VINCI sponsor working on behalf of the Tim & Colette association. 

How did you hear about Tim & Colette? 

Arnaud Bidet:  I discovered the association in 2022 at the Fondation VINCI 20th anniversary event in Lyon. At this event, where I was an ambassador for the foundation, various non-profit associations had been invited to introduce themselves and their activities. That’s where I met the manager of Tim & Colette. Talking with her, I realised that we had common ground in helping young people in difficult circumstances find accommodation, and also older people living alone. As an HR manager, I come across this type of problem at work, and so I had no hesitation in putting myself forward to sponsor Tim & Colette. 

Could you explain Tim & Colette’s mission? 

A.B.: Tim & Colette is a small association, but one with large ambitions. In 2022, when we met them, they were just three volunteers without anywhere to operate from. And yet they had already signed more than a hundred lease contracts between young people and older adults. The concept is simple: the young person agrees to help the older person in return for lower rent. For example, for an older person with physical problems, the young person can help carry their shopping or put the bins out. If the older person just wants someone to talk to, the young person can commit to sharing mealtimes with them. This is a wonderful project, which meets the needs of young people looking for accommodation and those of older people in need of company. 

How has the foundation been supporting Tim & Colette? What does your role as its sponsor involve?  

A.B.: The foundation actively supports the association with promotion, raising awareness of its missions, and financially, with a contribution of €10,000. As its sponsor, I regularly liaise between my business unit and the association. For example, when we have young interns or trainees who are struggling to find accommodation or older employees looking to optimise their living arrangements. 

How has your commitment to solidarity changed over the years? 

A.B.: I’ve been closely involved with non-profit organisations all my life. In 2016, I was in Thessaloniki with Erasmus, and that’s when I decided to get involved with Syrian and Libyan migrants. I worked in a camp on the border between Greece and Macedonia where we handed out meals. This was a formative experience, because despite our efforts, there were often more people in need than we had meals. That experience opened my eyes to the reality of humanitarian crisis. 

When I arrived at VINCI Energies in 2018, I discovered a multitude of ways to get involved, such as the Fondation VINCI and the partnership with Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque. I was soon able to volunteer for a cause that resonated with me. VINCI Energies set up a Coureurs du Coeur team to raise money for Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque. So, I trained, along with the other 50 team members, to take part in the Étape du Tour 2023. For me, solidarity is about remembering that we don’t live alone and learning to live for others.