French students support Rochdale homelessness charity

Date published: 29 January 2020

A pair of students from La Rochelle Business School in France are honing their skills on placement in England at the Emmaus Department Store in Rochdale.

Laurine Leverbe and Audrey Toutee from La Rochelle in the south west of France, are on a six-week placement at Emmaus to improve their English language skills and put their learning into practice. Laurine and Audrey are currently studying for a Masters in business management at La Rochelle Business School.

Audrey said: “Thanks to this internship I am exploring a new working environment in sales where people are very friendly and easy to work with. I find the experience really rewarding and worthwhile for my future and my studies. I will be back in France with great memories, willing to learn more and be open minded.”

The Emmaus Department Store in Rochdale supports people who have experienced homelessness. Spread over three floors, this large charity store stocks a wide variety of new and pre-owned items including furniture, home ware, electrical appliances, clothing and vintage goods.

Laurine said: “This international internship is for me a huge opportunity, both personally and professionally, to develop lots of skills. I felt very welcomed in the Emmaus Department Store when I arrived with my friend Audrey and it’s still the case three weeks after.

“We are working on different positions such as cashier, in the clothes section or doing furniture assembly. We have a comfy room to rest in the Emmaus House where we have met beautiful people who are always keen to help us to improve our English. We spend very valuable time with them that I won’t forget.”

All the funds raised at the Emmaus Department Store are used to support the formerly homeless people who work in the store and live at the Emmaus House in Burnley. Both Audrey and Laurine are working alongside the beneficiaries of Emmaus to gain a greater insight into the running of the social enterprise.

Marc Bamber, Area Retail Operations Manager at Emmaus Burnley, said: “We are delighted to welcome both Audrey and Laurine to our Emmaus community and social enterprise. They’re both working well in our Emmaus Department Store, improving their English skills and learning more about our charity.”

Emmaus has strong connections to France. The first Emmaus community was founded in Paris, in 1949, by Father Henri-Antoine Grouès, better known as Abbé Pierre. The Emmaus movement has since grown to more than 350 groups spread across the world. The first Emmaus community in the UK opened in 1991 and there are now 29 communities located in towns and cities across the country.

To get involved or donate an item to Emmaus in Rochdale, please call 0330 058 4264 or visit the store at Rochdale Exchange Centre, 50A Market Way, Rochdale OL16 1EA.

To find out more and support Emmaus, please visit:

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