Spotlight on Volunteering

Spotlight on Lingo Flamingo



The Volunteering Service works with local and national volunteering providers to offer students activities to enrich their lives. We spoke with Papoula Romao, Volunteer Coordinator at Lingo Flamingo, about the work they do and how student volunteers have contributed.


Papoula explained that ‘Lingo Flamingo teaches languages to people living in care homes, because learning languages is good for the brain and good for the banter. Many of our students have dementia or other conditions that might make learning a bit harder, but the Lingo Flamingo approach is to adapt to everybody's needs and focus on having fun. Our work is based on research that shows that challenging the brain with a new language improves cognition and can be protective of dementia. Lingo Flamingo teaches across Scotland and has gone as far as the Isle of Arran and Aberdeen.’






Typically, Volunteers go into care homes and share their language knowledge with the residents. Papoula adds, ‘through talking about their own experience with learning another language, the student volunteers have taught care home residents phrases, songs and dances. Student volunteers have been crucial to increasing Lingo Flamingo's reach, making a second language accessible to everyone.’


‘Student volunteers have been amazing to work with. They are very motivated, committed and reliable. Each volunteer has a different background and is able to bring something unique to the classes, which has been truly enriching; to the organisation but also the Lingo Flamingo students. The feedback given by the care home residents has been heartwarming, as they appreciate the care with which the volunteers prepare the lesson.’

The Lingo Flamingo Board


Though based in Glasgow, Lingo Flamingo frequently travel to Edinburgh to meet and support volunteers. Training is online and in-person and is adapted to the needs of the volunteer.’





When recruiting volunteers, Papoula looks for ‘compassion, closely followed by adaptability. In a group of perhaps five older adults you will find a lot of differences in ability to communicate, focus and engage with the topic. It's essential to adapt your lesson to each individual as Lingo Flamingo classes are meant to empowering for each person.’















Papoula Romao, Volunteer Coordinator

Images courtesy of Lingo Flamingo

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