Interview with Philip Jennings – General Secretary of Uni Global Union in Nyon

Here is the second of the Living in Nyon interviews with influential individuals who live in the La Côte area. See previous interview with Daniel Rossellat (Nyon mayor and head of Paléo) here.

Here we speak to Philip Jennings –  JenningsWelshman, rugby lover and former volunteer firefighter – was listed in Bilan magazine as one of the 300 most influential people in Switzerland. Posting regularly to the social networking site Twitter, he has over 70,000 readers following his account – @PJenningsUNI. 

Philip Jennings is the General Secretary of UNI Global Union, an organisation with over 20 million members, representing 900 unions in over 150 countries and with its head office in Nyon. In May 2013 UNI Global Union was at the centre of worldwide press coverage, as the “Bangladesh Safety Accord ”, a legally binding agreement by major US and European clothes manufacturers to raise safety standards in Bangladesh factories, was negotiated in Nyon by both UNI Global union and Industriall.

Read on to find out more about Uni Global Union, about the “Nyon Spring”  in 2011 (the threatened closure of the Novartis factory in Prangins), the Bangladeshi safety accord which was signed in Nyon, how Jennings became a Swiss citizen, and details of the upcoming public debate organised by Uni Global  Union in Nyon on October 3rd.

Philip Jennings

Photo above: Philip Jennings outside the Buffet de la Gare in Céligny

Living in Nyon went to meet Philip Jennings over lunch at Buffet de la Gare in Céligny earlier this year. This restaurant was an appropriate venue for an interview; it used to be the favourite watering hole of the Welsh-born actor Richard Burton. Burton lived and died in the village, and his final resting place is in the graveyard in Céligny. Read more about Richard Burton and his time in Switzerland here.

Celigny 2 002

 We began by asking Jennings about his firefighter role.

“I live in Cheserex and back in 1986 I used to play football with a local team. As the guys in the team were also in the fire brigade, they sent the captain round to my house one night to sign me up. He appeared at my door wearing a uniform covered with medals – at first I mistakenly thought he’d come round to enlist me in the Swiss army! Once I realised what it was all about, I signed up, but I’m not sure how useful I was. Initially when a fire started, the alarm would ring out across the village and the pompiers [firefighters] who were closest to the fire would get there as fast they could. The system then changed to a call-out system by phone. As I was often travelling or at work I didn’t get too many calls, but I do like to think that during my time there I helped a little.”

Helping the community, whether on a local basis or on a global one, is what drives Jennings. A sense of justice and doing what’s right is at the very core of his work. Having just returned from Zimbabwe, he showed me a photo on his phone of a badly beaten Zimbabwean worker.

“I keep it on there to remind me that situations like his and of many others continue around the globe. Workers who protest, purely because they want fair working conditions or simply to be a member of a union, can be subjected to all sorts of pressure and violence.

“I’m proud that from UNI Global Union right here in Nyon we can step in and help in various ways. We can respond quickly to such situations, we can give messages of reassurance, intervene and let them know they are not alone. Sometimes it’s as simple as embarrassing the employer into changing their attitude, policies or anti-union stance. We’ve achieved a lot so far yet there’s still much to do. Some multinational companies still don’t see the benefits of having good management/employee relationships and working practices.

Uni global union

Photo above: The Uni Global Union building in the centre of Nyon

Hear Philip Jennings on Euronews  – “Retailers back safety initiatives in Bangladesh factories”

“Here in Switzerland union representation is not bad, but there’s an increasing problem in the country on the intimidation of people elected by the union. The protections in Switzerland are not in compliance with global standards. Union representation is strong in the public sector, in industry and in construction, but representation in the financial sector could be better.”

The “Nyon Spring”

A great example of how the influence of unions, plus discussions with management, can work together to provide a solution that is acceptable to all, was shown with the relatively recent threatened closure of the Novartis factory in Prangins. The closure and subsequent loss of jobs not only would have been extremely detrimental to the town, but it was also completely unnecessary. The factory was profitable and had a good future in Nyon.

Novartis A

 The community rallied around, as the workers and the unions came out in force on one day to protest. It was even labelled the “Printemps Nyonnais”. Thankfully Novartis completely reversed its position, the factory remains open and one year later they have a completely new policy. They are continuing to invest in Nyon, so this is all great news for the town. Such a happy conclusion doesn’t always happen elsewhere.

Novertis demonstration O

Novartis D

Photos above: Protests against the Novartis closure in Nyon 2011, by many members of the community.

Jennings has a heavy travel schedule in the course of his work.

“I visit Japan one a year, and I attend the World Economic Forum at Davos. It’s a great opportunity to meet world leaders, and we can get a lot of work done under one roof. I travel to Latin America twice a year, and I try to visit the USA, Africa and Australia at least once during a twelve-month period. There’s really no lull in the rhythm of work, and working on a global basis means that if I’m not careful I could be working seven days a week.”

This work pattern is in total contrast to the working life of his own parents growing up in Wales.

“My mother worked in a shop and my father worked on the night shift in a car factory. He would leave every night at 17.00 to go to work. His routine never altered, and there was a definite sense of a weekend to his and our lives back then. With my current travel schedule and work pattern the lines have become blurred, but I’m careful to manage it all and look after my health. I exercise early in the morning before leaving for the office. It’s always a full day when I’m in Nyon, although I do try to leave the building by 19:00. If I see anyone else still working late I tell them to go home. Balancing work and home life is important. I’ve also insisted on a morning coffee/tea break for staff. I encourage them to leave their office and meet other staff during this time. Perhaps it’s my one British influence on the organisation, but I feel it’s important that employees take the time to chat and discuss issues face to face instead of endless email communication.”

In 2005 Jennings was diagnosed with throat cancer. After an operation and a course of radiotherapy he is now recovered. “If I was determined to achieve many things before, I’m even more determined now. My sense of purpose of doing the right thing has been strengthened in the knowledge that every day counts.”

Regarding his own safety when entering into potentially combative situations, he says:

“There are times when it’s been tricky in countries such as Colombia, South Korea or Nigeria, but what I occasionally experience is nothing in comparison to the threats and intimidation that workers and elected union members around the world can encounter on a daily basis.

“Outside work, I like to help on a personal level by sending Twitter messages of support to many people in difficult situations around the world. The protests earlier this year in Turkey are a case in point. I was at home one Saturday night a few weeks ago and I started to see thousands of messages coming through from Turkey, many of them asking: ‘Does the world know what’s happening to us?’ I responded with one Tweet in support and in return received messages and images, all telling me about the rubber bullets and the protests. Just getting into a dialogue with them gives them a sense of not being alone.”

UNIGlobal Union, situated a few hundred metres from Nyon railway station, was purpose-built for the organisation in the town – on time and under budget.

“UNIGlobal Union was the result of the merger of four organisations: FIET (International Federation of Employees, technicians and managers), MEI (Media and Entertainment International), IGF (International Graphical Federation) and CI (Communications International, formally PTTI). When we merged we needed a new home. We were initially in Geneva, where we had a piece of land on which we wanted to construct a brand new building. But we knew the wheels of development run very slowly in Geneva. It would have taken over 10 years to build! So when someone told us there was available land in Nyon we investigated further. I realised then that this current location would be perfect for our needs. It was near all the good transport links, and in addition Nyon council and the canton of Vaud were very open and welcoming to us. So we went ahead. The building was constructed on time and under budget. We now have an excellent office space with a large conference centre, interpreting booths and media centre. There are nearly 50 staff working here (around 25 nationalities among them), and about 200 in the building itself. Funding for our organisation comes from members fees from around the world – it costs just two francs a year to be a member.”

In October  3rd the conference centre in the UNI Global Union building will be the venue for the 4th edition of the “What Next?” debate.

Note to readers – These debates are open to the public and held in French but there will be simultaneous translation facilities available on the evening.

“These debates are a way to open the doors of UNI Global Union to the general public and the local community. It’s an opportunity for them to have their say. In addition, a variety of important players in various fields are invited to speak to discuss the issues on the agenda. Our first debate focused on Corporate and Social Responsibility. The second debate was on the growth of the Lac Léman region. Leaders from Copenhagen and Utrecht were invited to speak on their experience in city growth and how to manage it. Our third debate was focused on young people”.

The next debate on October 3rd will be entitled ‘Liberty and Security’. How safe do people feel in today’s age; how do you define security; what do people feel threatened by? This debate will be held in the evening, which we hope will enable even more members of the public to engage in the conversation.” More details of this debate coming up on this site.

And now

In 2009 Jennings became a Swiss citizen and was proud on the day he attended the ceremony to confirm his citizenship. The application process was not without its humorous points.

“The day before my official interview (when I knew I would be asked a lot of questions and facts about the country and this area), I decided to conduct a final bit of research by heading off to the Abbey of Bonmont near my village. I thought I might be asked at what height the Abbey was situated. I was hunting around for a plaque or a sign with such information but I couldn’t see anything. So I asked a woman nearby reading a book in the Abbey grounds if she knew the height of the abbey. She turned round to me, smiled, and said: ‘Don’t worry, I won’t be asking you that question tomorrow.’ It transpired she was going to be part of the citizenship interview committee! I love it that so many things here are decided on a local and communal level. I was very pleased the day I could vote in Switzerland. I don’t want to be disenfranchised; I want to use my vote.

“I very much feel part of the community here and have watched Nyon develop and change over the years, a lot of it for the better. I live in the area, and my wife is a teacher at La Chataignerie. I try to attend local festivals and local events. Having said all that, there’s a small part of me that will always have a passion for Wales, particularly during rugby matches. There’s a Welsh expression called Hyraeth. It’s difficult to define, and it certainly can’t be translated into French – but it means a sense of yearning for one’s homeland. I do have Hyraeth, but essentially Switzerland for me is home and I hope it stays that way.”





“Living along Lac Léman” book is now for sale! – The perfect gift for everyone.

Tuesday evening in Nyon saw the official launch of  the book “Living along Lac Léman”. Thankyou so much to all those who came to the Villa Thomas at the COV for the vernissage/launch.

Photos above. Happy book fans!

The venue in the stunning lake side setting made it the perfect place to launch the book. It also gave readers of this site,  La Côte newspaper, and other members of the public a chance to mingle and enjoy a glass of local Swiss wine, along with tasting some British cheeese from the British Cheese Centre of Switzerland. 

Photo above: the Villa Thomas along the lake side. Note – there will be a jazz concert at the Villa Thomas on Friday 7th Oct see COV for here for full details

There were also representatives at the event from the various local festivals (Paléo, Caribana, Visions du Réel etc),  from Nyon town council and Nyon tourism giving those there the opportunity to find out more about the three festivals and local issues.

Photo above – Checking out the book at the vernissage

About the book –  The perfect company gift, birthday or Christmas present.

Packed with columns articles and photos the book is is a light hearted look at life along the shores of lake Geneva and contains a selection of columns which have been published for the last two years in English every Friday in La Côte newspaper.  This weekly column is a conversation is about the people, places and events in Vaud as seen through the eyes of a British expatriate.

Photo above: left C. Nelson-Pollard author of “Living along Lac Léman”, right Contessa Pinon – editor of La Côte newspaper

With observations on unusual Swiss customs and on the peculiarities to be found in both the French and English languages, it also comments on other subjects such as the jargon that estate agents use when advertising houses for sale, the difficulties of making a fondue, or trying to say a telephone number in French.

Image above – article from book called  “Figuring it out”

With other articles on local festivals, the Désalpe and more, and packed with photos that capture the colour and essence of the Léman region, the book makes a perfect gift for someone who has just moved to the area. It  will also delight those who have lived here for a while, whether expat of Swiss, in recognising  the slightly side quirky side of Swiss life whilst acknowledging the beauty of the Léman area.

Image below – Article from book called “A saisir!” (on estate agents’ jargon)

At just 29 CHF, the book is available to order through this site, just click on “Living in Nyon” book on the top side bar to order.  Free delivery in the Nyon, Coppet, Rolle and Prangins area.  

From  Tuesday 11th October, the book will also be for sale at Nyon tourist office  Opening hours  Monday-Friday 08:30 -12:30/ 13:30 -17:30

Special book signing – The author will be signing copies of the book at Nyon tourist office on Friday November 4th from 16:00- 18:00.  An ideal opportunity to pick up a copy and find out about events and winter activities happening in the Nyon and St Cergue region.

Photo above and below – Selling the books left to right. Anna Hiller Bedlington, Suzy Nelson-Pollard, Nicola Bedlington.

All photos of the vernissage –  Catherine Lewis photography see site here

Swiss local politics – “The drama is hidden behind the geraniums”

From time to time Living in Nyon features articles which are written by guest writers. For this post, Phillipe Martinet, a local deputy and councillor in Gland for the past 25 years, has written about his perspective on local Swiss politics.  He sums up  what he feels he has (or hasn’t!) achieved in the 25 years that he has been representing his community.

Please note this article has been translated from the French (also added below). Photos below: scenes from around Gland and Nyon.

“Militia politicians, typical Swiss political animals”  by Philippe Martinet

“If you enjoy being swept up in the momentum of a revolutionary wave, hearing tantalising phrases that spice up French political life, or reading about careers being destroyed by affairs and scandals in the Sun or the Bild, you may find our political system disappointingly boring!

In Switzerland, there is a delicious saying that “the drama is hidden behind the geraniums”. In other words, it takes years participating in committees, commissions and other meetings in hidden back rooms of local restaurants to begin to really understand where the power is hidden, and then to potentially be able to pull a few levers.

You would have thought that with the three levels of executive power – communal, cantonal and federal (generally five to seven members)  there is enough enough room to manoeuvre. However, do not forget that with referendums and the “right to popular initiative”, direct democracy is pushed to the extreme at all levels. Added to this, the paradigms of  “consensus” and “compatibility” all result in executive power composed of elected members being condemned to a marriage of reason with colleagues from other political parties. This means they are obliged to rise to sacrosanct corporate governance and it prevents them from criticising the decisions taken together.

Photo below: New Gland – The Swiss Quote building. 

Because of this, in France it takes five years to put a TGV on their railway lines, when the king of the republic decides it, while in Switzerland there are still 600 oppositions per kilometre of line at Olten against the project Rail 2000!

In Switzerland, politicians spend most of their time constructing a majority within a group of people, rather than actually governing. That said, within this context, you will not be surprised that politics can seem to be a senseless hobby rather than an actual career for most of the elected representatives of Switzerland, particularly for those working in the legislative areas. 

“I cannot imagine the following words carved on my gravestone…”

During 25 years of being a councillor of Gland, I have been busy twenty nights per year. Despite my hyperactivity, I have to admit that I cannot confirm to having been decisive on any particular project… As to my role in the High Council of the canton of Vaud (a parliament of 150 members) where I have been for  twelve years,  I sit there for six hours every Tuesday, plus an average of two to fifteen hours for a commission or for party meetings ( the Green party) then there are the “representations”, and let’s not  forget preparing and working on all those files.

Considering all this, I still cannot imagine the following words carved on my gravestone “here lies the deputy thanks to whom…”.

This highly participative but weak system has nevertheless certain advantages: it encourages the development and maturing of ideas, it is a school of patience and humility for those elected, and it gives us a sense of responsibility and permits the people of Switzerland to vote on a dozen, often difficult, questions per year.

“No giant sways from left to right on the political boat”

I believe that this is at the origins of the extraordinary dynamics of all our associations and groups, which is the very fabric of society. This way, instead of giant sways from left to right, swaying the political boat, adjustments are a continual process, made by little changes along the way, and the Swiss trawler continues its course even in stormy weather.

In concrete terms in the region, the idea of paying to pollute (bin taxes), necessary development of public transport, or day-nurseries for families needing them: all these exotic propositions from 20 years ago are becoming facts today. You will even find the majority of citizens accept the increase in taxes to finance them.

As you’ve had the courage to read me up to this point, next time I will let you know what is cooking, both on the national and regional scale, in the Helvetic political cooking pot.

To be continued.

Philippe Martinet, deputy and councillor, Gland

Le politicien de milice, animal politique suisse typique

Si vous aimez les lendemains qui chantent des grands élans révolutionnaires, ou les petites phrases assassines qui jalonnent la vie politique française, ou les carrières qui se font ou défont à coups « d’affaires » et de scandales dans le Sun ou le Bild… vous risquez de trouver notre système bien ennuyeux ! Il faut dire qu’en Suisse, selon une formule savoureuse, le drame se cache derrière les géraniums… C’est dire qu’il faut des années de comités, commissions, et autres séances dans des arrière-salles de bistrots  avant de commencer à comprendre vraiment où se cache le pouvoir, et éventuellement être en mesure d’actionner un ou deux leviers.

Certes, on peut avoir l’impression que les exécutifs des trois niveaux – communal, cantonal et fédéral (généralement de 5 à 7 membres) – ont une certaine marge de manoeuvre. Mais c’est oublier qu’avec le référendum et le droit d’initiative populaire, la démocratie directe est poussée à l’extrême à tous les niveaux. Et si vous y ajoutez les paradigmes du « consensus » et de la « concordance », qui font que les exécutifs sont composés d’élu-es condamnés à un mariage de raison avec leurs collègues issu-es d’autres partis, tenu-es de surcroît à une sacro-sainte collégialité les empêchant de critiquer les décisions prises collégialement, vous comprendrez pourquoi il faut 5 ans aux Français pour mettre un TGV sur les rails – quand le roi de la République le veut bien – alors qu’il a encore 600 oppositions par kilomètre de voies à Olten au projet suisse Rail 2000 ! Tout cela pour expliquer qu’en Suisse, le politicien passe davantage de temps à construire une majorité auprès d’une nuée d’acteurs, qu’à gouverner réellement. 

Dans ce contexte, vous ne serez pas surpris que la politique ne soit qu’un loisir déraisonnable et non un métier pour l’immense majorité des élu-es en Suisse, en particulier dans les législatifs. Ainsi, depuis 25 ans à Gland, mon mandat de conseiller communal (législatif de 75 membres) m’occupe une vingtaine de soirs par année. Et malgré une hyperactivité certaine, il m’est impossible d’affirmer avoir été vraiment déterminant sur un projet ou un autre… Quant à mon rôle de député au Grand Conseil du canton de Vaud (parlement de 150 membres) depuis 12 ans, je siège tous les mardis six heures durant, plus en moyenne deux heures à quinzaine pour une commission, outre les séances de partis – Les Verts – et les représentations, sans oublier la préparation des dossiers. Et là également, pas moyen d’écrire sur ma pierre tombale : « ici gît le député grâce à qui… ».

Ce système à la fois très participatif mais très dilué a toutefois certains avantages : il permet la maturation des idées ; il est une école de patience et d’humilité pour les élu-e-s ; il conduit à responsabiliser et faire voter le Peuple sur une dizaine de questions par année, parfois très complexes ; et je pense qu’il est à l’origine de l’extraordinaire dynamisme du milieu associatif, qui est la trame même du tissu social. Ainsi, au lieu de grands coups de barre à gauche ou à droite, faisant tanguer le navire, les ajustements ont lieu en continu, par petites touches : et le chalutier suisse va sa route même par gros temps. Concrètement dans la région, l’idée du pollueur payeur (taxe poubelle), le développement nécessaire des transports publics, ou de crèches garderies pour toutes les familles qui en ont besoin : toutes ces propositions exotiques il y a 2o ans, deviennent des évidences aujourd’hui. Et vous trouvez même des majorités de citoyen-nes acceptant des hausses d’impôts pour les financer.

Et comme vous avez eu le courage de me lire jusque là, dans une prochaine chronique, je vous dirai ce qui cuit dans la marmite politique helvétique et régionale. A suivre.

Philippe Martinet, député et conseiller communal, Gland

Bernard Garo – Renowned Nyon artist opens up his workshop to the public next weekend

Along the Route de L’Etraz in Nyon lies a set of ateliers (workshops) and at number 20 A (5) is the studio of renowned Nyon artist Bernard Garo.  Garo is well known in Switzerland for his art, photography and installations and although he lives and works in Nyon,  his eye is firmly on the rest of the world. His global vision inspires him to travel to other  countries not only for his art, but also to bring back materials to create it. 

Ash from Stromboli, Red Earth from Tarragona – all inspiration for Garo’s creations. 

Whether it is using volcanic ash that he collected from Stromboli (the Italian volcano), red earth from Tarragona in Spain, crushed black glass or sand from beaches across Europe, all are used in his art and literally on his art. Much of his work is textured, inviting the viewer to feel it, look at it close, but then to step back and look at it again from afar.

Photo below: The Workshops in Route de l’Etraz in Nyon. These will be open next weekend (see below).

Which the viewer must do to appreciate it all as like the man himself, his art is big, (Bernard is over 2 metres tall).  Massive canvasses grace the walls of his workshop, canvasses with work in progress, canvasses finished and ready to be shipped to a client, canvasses with just a gem of an idea on them.   Garo can be working on over 20 paintings at one time, such is his enthusiasm and passion.

“Sometimes I drive myself crazy with all the ideas I have in my head for a new painting, I can’t stop” .  Helped by an art student he is constantly working in his studio. “I have to be an artist, it’s not a career choice, it’s something I have to do, it is in my soul”.

Garo urges the viewer to look up or down at his art, not always straight on;  “it makes it far more interesting to look at it from a different angle. Many people just see what is in only in front of them, they forget to  look up at the sky or down at the ground. They miss a lot if they do this. I am trying to encourage us all to think differently”.

Garo has been commissioned to produce pieces for various private clients and public institutions.  His “M20″ installation is in the metro underground station in Lausanne, he has an outdoor installation called “Waterproof” in the Piscine de Monthey, a work  in the private collection of the research centre of Nestlé. He has also won many artistic prizes including winning  the Artistic prize of Nyon back in 1994. You can read more about the man and his work on his own site.

Bernard admires the works of other artists and sculptors such as Anthony Cragg (UK) and Anish Kapoor (India), Anselm Kiefer (Germany), Miguel Barcelo (Spain) and many more.  

Photo above – Ash and other natural materials from the earth are used in his art. 

Workshop open next weekend

You can visit Garo’s workshop and see it all for yourself at an “open house” on Saturday 30th October from 11:00 to 20:00  and on Sunday 31 October  from 11:00 to 17:00 at  Route de L’Etraz 20 A in Nyon Look out for the red sign on the roadside (see photo at end of this article) .

Bernard speaks English and he will be  more than happy to chat to Living in Nyon readers about his work. 

There is also an exhibition of his work entitled “Lisboa the unquiet” at the Galerie d’art Junod in Grand Rue in Nyon. Opening times here


 Footnote: Encouraged by the artist to look at objects, paintings and the world from a different angle, Living in Nyon did just did this and took a photo of the  shoes and the tools he uses while at work – a work of art in themselves.



From Costa Rica to La Côte- Interview with Braulio Mora plus news.

Quick round up on a couple of pieces of recent news taken from La Côte plus an interview with Braulio Mora, local resident and one of the youngest members of Nyon town council.

Pool for Chéserex: The citizens of Chéserex (a village near Nyon)  voted on the 31st January to go ahead with the construction of an indoor swimming pool in the village. Here is the PDF plan showing where it is planned to be situated. The popular vote brought in 383 votes for the plan, to 270 against (653 residents voted out of a possible 852).

New superstore for Nyon: Secondly, news that are plans are afoot for the Migros Home store at the top of Nyon to be demolished and a brand new building put in its place, with a food supermarket, an M-Electronics store, a new Home Store and possibly other non-Migros commercial stores within the same complex. These plans are subject to an inquiry but if they are approved, work will begin before summer and will finish before the end of 2011.

Braulio Mora – Passionate about local issues

New Centre for La Redoute
There is now a brand new centre called Maison de la Redoute for the people who live in La Redoute area of Nyon. La Redoute is a block of flats which has a resident population of around 1000 people. This new centre is seperated into two parts. One part is open for children’s activities, birthday parties and also for the use of residents when they want to hold events. The other part of the centre is a “youth centre-espace jeunesse” and is reserved for  young people from 15 onwards.

The opening of this centre is the culmination of a long campaign  by Braulio Mora to get it up and running.

At 28 years old Braulio Mora is one of the fourth youngest elected members of the conseil communal and is passionate about local issues, particularly those involving the youth of Nyon.  Originally from Costa Rica (his family moved here when he was just one year old), he lives in Nyon and studies in Lausanne on an internship studying clinical pathology.

Says Braulio “ I have a degree in medicine and I could have chosen the career path of going on to be a general doctor or surgeon, but I knew that would mean extra long hours at work, all necessary to succeed in the profession. I chose pathology as it would enable me to have a life outside a normal 8-5 work routine.”

Not only is he curious about the human body and diagnosing human diseases, he is also very interested in the human mind too as he enjoys meeting people, discovering more about them and where he can, helping them. “I know that if you want to get involved in any kind of volunteering whether it is local issues or political work, you have to time to devote to it. I was an active member of the student council when I was at university and now in Nyon I sit on various committees and commissions. “

Table tennis in play at the new centre

“Because I’m one of the younger members of the council, young people can approach me as they know I may be able to relate to some of the issues that concern them. One of the main subjects that often comes up here in Nyon time and time again is the lack of suitable affordable housing for young people which is a subject we are addressing. We don’t want people to feel they have to go elsewhere to live, we would like them to stay in the town”.

The town itself of course is a great place to be and I love living here. When I’m not studying or sitting in council meetings I like to travel and I am a keen amateur photographer too. I represent the Spanish Language Catholic society here in Nyon too. There are quite a few of us that live here in the area that originate from Spain or Central and South America. There are many different nationalities that sit on the conseil communal representing Nyon’s own rich mix of citizens. We all have different viewpoints of course but we all come together for the common good”.

La Redoute has its own website (note, so does La Levratte, another area of apartment buildings to the north side of Nyon).

Children celebrating at the opening party

Braulio (right in photo) at the signing of the opening of the centre last week, with member of the Muncipalité Mr Olivier Mayor. Back row. Vanessa Gardel-Maouche.