The Chime is the first worldwide network of shopkeepers offering free services to the most excluded. Its mission is to break social exclusion, empower citizens and improve excluded people’s lives. 


Worldwide, the Covid19 crisis has aggravated the systemic problem of poverty and thus will likely increase homelessness. Thus, changing one’s perception on poverty is key, to consider it as a shared problem and have a global positive impact. 

This network first started in France in 2015 by an award-winning initiative called “le Carillon” (by La Cloche). The concept is simple: shopkeepers who want to create more social interactions with their neighbours (with or without a home) join the network and offer services and products in their stores for people who need them. They are identified with stickers on their shop windows. After being contacted by several citizens around the world, La Cloche created The Chime, to share their expertise and support similar initiatives elsewhere. Today, The Chime is operating in 7 countries and in 17 cities.


Technical details & Operations

 In a given neighborhood, shop owners open their doors to homeless people and offer free services (charging one’s phone, taking unsold food, accessing toilets) and free products (having a meal, a drink, a haircut). Shopkeepers put pictograms on their windows to indicate the services and products they offer to people in need. By doing so, shop owners provide services to homeless people and they help them create social bonds.

Deployment & Impact

Currently, The Chime initiatives, inspired by Le Carillon in France, are located in 7 countries, 18 cities. 

The Chime’s impact objectives are to: 

– Improve excluded people’s living conditions thanks to free services and products  

– Create social bonds between people, excluded or not, in the neighbourhood

– Make excluded people feel they are legitimate to participate in the neighbourhood social life 

– Empower people to act locally to fight social exclusion

– Create local communities of practice to enhance people’s civic and moral qualities

In France alone, there are 1089 shopkeepers involved in the network Le Carillon. In total, there are 26 categories of 8 113 offered services, such as free wifi, water, call emergency, toilets, national call, diaper, charging phone, first aid, print or photocopy a document, bread, tools, microwave, get a book or magazine, washing things, reading a newspaper, unsold, information on support services, keeping things, hygiene or cosmetic sample, ordering/obtaining clothes, accessing menstrual protection, talking, stamping mail, exchanging money, breastfeeding, accessing a bathroom. 

Around 1 100 products are going to be set up. The objective for 2034 is to launch 30 initiatives in the network The Chime. 

The members of the network