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Foyers in the UK and France -- Comparisons and Contrasts


  • Roland Lovatt
  • Christine Whitehead
  • Claire Levy-Vroelant


The Foyer movement in the UK developed in the early 1990s as a government sponsored response to inter-related youth problems of homelessness, unemployment and limited training and recreation facilities. In an attempt to 're-enfranchise’ large numbers of young people a strategy of providing accommodation, training and other facilities was pursued based upon an understanding of French successes. France has a much longer tradition of Foyers providing accommodation and support dating back to the mid-nineteenth century, although developments over the past 20 years perhaps represent the most interesting period from the UK perspective. During this time many French Foyers have increased their range of activities and introduced new practice and governance. This paper focuses on both the UK and French experiences of Foyers in order to highlight some comparisons and contrasts as a means of determining what might be learned in the UK from the more extensive French experience. The key question that this paper considers is whether or not the different governance, economic and social conditions in France mean that UK Foyers truly reflect French thinking and application of the concept. Does the French experience provide a blueprint, which has been followed in the UK -- and if so, does this suggest that such policy solutions are applicable across political, economic and social boundaries? Alternatively has an apparently similar concept generated very different approaches to housing young people? In pursuing these questions, the paper relies not only upon existing literature relating to Foyers in the UK and France, but also upon a research programme carried out by the authors mainly for the Housing Corporation between 2001 and 2005.

Suggested Citation

  • Roland Lovatt & Christine Whitehead & Claire Levy-Vroelant, 2006. "Foyers in the UK and France -- Comparisons and Contrasts," European Journal of Housing Policy, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 6(2), pages 151-166, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:eurjhp:v:6:y:2006:i:2:p:151-166

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