Lingo Flamingo is a social enterprise providing tailored foreign language workshops to older and vulnerable people to help battle against dementia, brain ageing and mental health issues.
Robbie Norval, a language graduate, was inspired to found Lingo Flamingo after witnessing dementia first hand as a befriender in a care home. With Edinburgh University research showing that speaking a foreign language can delay the onset of dementia by five years, Norval designed interactive workshops for older people, the first organisation to use foreign languages as a cognitive therapy for dementia.
Offered in five languages and featuring memory techniques, music and cooking sessions, the workshops are designed to help maintain brain function. They have the additional benefits of reducing isolation and depression and building self-confidence.
The Lingo Flamingo team, made up of linguists, medical experts and business professionals, won the support of Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon for the launch of their project. Working closely with Alzheimer Scotland and Edinburgh University to measure its impact, Lingo Flamingo also provides training and employment opportunities for international students and refugees.
Successful projects at care homes and profile-raising successes with Scottish Young Edge and Converge Challenge have stoked Lingo Flamingo’s ambition to expand across the UK and continue to prove that it’s never too late to learn.