Goodbye to our French volunteers
Last month, we said goodbye French Business students, Sara Beuno, 20, and Gaelle Ferrand, 21, who spent seven weeks living and volunteering in our community and charity shops.
Sara and Gaelle arrived at Emmaus Hertfordshire just after Christmas as part of their exchange from University of La Rochelle, France. Their main objective was to improve their language skills.
The pair spent their time working alongside companions (formerly homeless people), staff and other volunteers in our six second-hand charity shops across Hertfordshire (Tring, St Albans Harpenden, Barnet, Hertford, and Hemel Hempstead).
“The best part of the experience was feeling like part of the community, and working with so many people, companions, staff and other volunteers. It was fun to go out in the Emmaus vans to help collect donations too. Day-to-day we helped with the clothing donations and really enjoyed creating window displays with all of the donated items.”
Sara and Gaelle
During their stay, Sara and Gaelle also lived in the community building, which is home for up to 39 people who have experienced homelessness and social exclusion.
“Sara and Gaelle worked every day in the shops and sometimes on the vans and had a huge positive impact on sales and our customers. They even came out to Calais with us and said it was an experience they would never forget. On the way back asked if they could stay an extra week, and of course we said yes.”
Tony Ferrier, Community CEO
On their last Sunday they made cakes for the companions, and said they were going to miss everyone. They enjoyed their stay so much that they also asked for their time to be extended and have plans to return to Emmaus Hertfordshire next year to volunteer.
“We both really enjoyed getting to know the companions, eating together, going to the cinema together and spending time with them. We will never forget this experience and hope to come back soon.”
Sara and Gaelle
The income generated through our charity shops goes straight back into the community and enables companions to develop skills, rebuild their self-respect and help others in greater need than themselves.
To find out more about Emmaus, please visit www.emmaus.org.uk/hertfordshire. If you have been inspired by Sara and Gaelle’s experience and would like to apply to volunteer, please call 01727 817294 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.