A 70th anniversary is really something to celebrate! On 16 May, the charity Secours populaire français (SPF) will launch its “Summer Holidays 2015” campaign at Disneyland Paris together with hundreds of children and families. This campaign marks the seventieth anniversary of the charity, which was created in 1945.
“The partnership between Secours populaire français and Disneyland Paris began in 1993 when Disney parks worldwide were celebrating Mickey’s sixty-fifth birthday” explains Thierry Robert, Managing Director of Secours populaire. On the Secours populaire français’s 70th anniversary, he talks to Disneyland Paris News and looks back over the relationship between the charity and the resort.
Could you tell us about the Secours populaire français and why it was created?
“The Secours populaire français was created in 1945. It is a charitable organisation which helps people in difficulty in France, Europe and across the world, not only by ensuring they have enough to eat, but also that they have access to culture, leisure activities, holidays and health care etc. and that their rights are upheld. This year, the Secours populaire français celebrates its 70th anniversary and the charity’s 80,000 volunteers are organising a range of initiatives to counter increasing poverty, and the growing number of victims of climate change and conflicts. The SPF is authorised to receive gifts, legacies and donations and brings together people from all walks of life who simply want to help others. Secours populaire français is present throughout the whole of France, with federations in every department, and committees and branches in numerous towns and cities. It is also active in around fifty other countries where it runs 151 international programmes in conjunction with local partners.”
How are Disneyland Paris and Secours populaire français connected?
“Disneyland Paris was one of Secours populaire français’s first major partners. The first partnership between the SPF and Disneyland Paris was established in 1993, when Disney parks around the world were celebrating Mickey’s sixty-fifth birthday. Thousands of disadvantaged children were invited to the celebrations. In Europe, the SPF and its European partners were chosen to invite 6,500 children from across the continent to Disneyland Paris. The full cost of the day’s events was met by Disney, including transport and accommodation for the groups travelling from furthest afield. On the fifth anniversary of the Park’s opening in 1997, the event was repeated with children from all regions of France.
SPF and Disneyland are indisputably connected by the theme of childhood and their shared desire to bring happiness to little ones. We also want to give families the opportunity to share moments of pure joy together. That is why, in 2015, 7,000 vulnerable children and their families will be given the opportunity to spend a magical day at the Disneyland Paris Park.”
Why did you choose Disneyland Paris for this event?
“Disneyland has long been a loyal partner for our charity. As well as putting on joint events, we have also worked together on numerous occasions to offer trips to families such as the flood victims in Vaison-la-Romaine, in the Vendée region of France. On the Secours populaire français’s 70th anniversary, Disneyland Paris is giving 7,000 children free tickets. One of the numerous events to mark out 70th anniversary will include a celebration in the Champs de Mars garden in Paris for 70,000 people deprived of holidays. Disneyland Paris will take part in these celebrations by putting on dozens of shows for the participants, including the incredible cowboys and indians from the Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. We should add that a trip to an attraction park is synonymous for getting away from it all, something we all need to do from time to time. That is why we have chosen to launch our “Holidays” campaign at Disneyland Paris.”
What is your best memory of Secours populaire français at Disneyland Paris?
It was the very first partnership and Mickey’s sixty-fifth birthday. The joy on the children’s faces, the dedication of the volunteers, the kindness of the staff at the park. Everything had been perfectly prepared to welcome the children, including the private use of one of the restaurants. Out of the 6,500 children who attended thanks to the partnership, less than ten had visited the resort before. Our partnership is the proof that people working together in solidarity is the best way to bring happiness to others.