The people behind the project: ASPIRE in France

31 Jan 2023
Paige Cowan-Hall

The people behind the project: ASPIRE in France

Stephanie Gailiunas is a social worker and Naturopath and is C3’s Community Engagement Facilitator in Lens and Loos-En-Gohelle in France. As part of ASPIRE she has run workshops focussed on wellbeing, relaxation, and boosting self-esteem to improve community health. Despite the difficulties Covid-19 posed she managed to partner with local authorities and ran 20 workshops in 2021.

Below she catches up with C3 about why she chose to take part in the ASPIRE EU project.

What made you want to work with C3 on the ASPIRE

As a social worker and Naturopath working in Lens, the ASPIRE project meets my personal values. I think that being engaged at a community level to bring people together around nutrition, cooking classes, and hiking is crucial to support people in leading a healthier life.

What impact have you seen from the project so far?
People realised that they could have a real positive impact on their health by changing some behaviours, they regained self-esteem and realised that little by little it was possible to make things change. A lot of work still needs to be done and more people need to be reached. However, through new local collaborations, we should be able to get more people from the local community onboard.

What has been people’s response to ASPIRE?
A lot of participants said it is a real opportunity to have the ASPIRE project in the area as a lot of people are overweight or living with obesity. Local stakeholders say it helps a lot to have a local project related to health.

How has Covid-19 impacted the community and your work?
Covid-19 had a huge impact on the local community with people being lonely and isolated. Moreover, a lot of children put on weight during the period. It has been very difficult to mobilize people during most of 2021.But people are slowly coming back to be part of local activities. The local authority is eager to organise more family events that will help to bring people all together.

Stephanie is really good at
engaging with the local community.
She lives in the area and has
a very good understanding of the
barriers that make it difficult to eat
healthily in the neighbourhood.

A participant after a healthy eating workshop