Mayor’s Fight to Transform Closed Hospital into a Holiday Village for Families

The picturesque village of Saint-Blancard, once vibrant and bustling, faced a major setback with the closure of its Center for Functional Rehabilitation (CRF) in December 2022. This event led to a significant downturn in the village’s economy and morale. However, the relentless efforts of Mayor Christine Hubert and her team, alongside strategic partnerships, have paved the way for an innovative transformation of the closed healthcare facility into a holiday village catering to families with members suffering from rare diseases.

A Community in Despair Finds Hope

The closure of the CRF not only led to the loss of 280 jobs but also plunged the village into a state of despair. The impact was so profound that a silent march resembling a funeral procession was organized, underlining the community’s concern for their future. However, the tide began to turn when Mayor Christine Hubert took proactive steps to engage with key stakeholders, including the Director of the Regional Health Agency (ARS Occitanie), Didier Jaffray, who acknowledged the critical situation and the potential for reviving the village through the project.

Strategic Partnerships and Planning

Extensive discussions with property managers and support from the Alliance for the Rescue, spearheaded by the former prefect of Gers, have opened the doors to potential revitalization. The project envisions the transformation of the 8,000 square meter facility into a ‘Vacances Répit Familles’ center, offering a blend of tourism and therapeutic support for families dealing with rare neuromuscular or neurological diseases. This ambitious plan requires significant investment for renovation and beautification to make the facility welcoming and functional for its new purpose.

Looking Towards a Brighter Future

With the project potentially kicking off by the end of the summer, hopes are high for a grand opening in 2025. The mayor’s cautious optimism is shared by the community, which has seen a significant turnaround in morale and outlook within a year. This initiative not only promises to rejuvenate Saint-Blancard but also serves as a model for similar projects nationwide, showcasing the power of community resilience and innovation in the face of adversity.

The transformation of the former CRF into a holiday village is more than a mere revival of a rural village; it represents a beacon of hope, integration, and comfort for families facing extraordinary challenges. Mayor Christine Hubert’s vision and dedication, coupled with the support of the community and strategic partners, are set to breathe new life into Saint-Blancard, demonstrating the untapped potential of repurposing facilities for greater societal benefit.

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