Les Copains de Lagos

By Patrice Chedozeau & Jeremy Mason

Five years ago, Marie and Patrice Chedozeau moved to Lagos and felt the calling to help their countrymen who were going through a similar repatriation process.

Their goal was to help with administrative procedures and create a social life for French speakers. This is their story.

In 2015, the French population of the Lagos area got together to form a club then called Les Amis de Lagos.

We already recognised the need to get together to help new arrivals with their administrative needs and assist them with other matters. We listened to the group members and agreed basic rules.

We started with several activities, for example, a monthly working lunch to allow everyone to make acquaintances and feel less lonely. We also created our website which allowed us to communicate freely and provide a real social life feel to Les Amis de Lagos. In response to people’s needs, we organised conferences on the subjects of health, housing and taxation. These conferences were held in the town hall premises, thanks to the kind cooperation of the mayor. We put into place different activities such as French bowls, walks, bike rides and society games.

In 2017, owing to the large increase in the number of members, we decided to create an official association Les Copains de Lagos, which is registered with the Portuguese authorities. The aim has always been the same – help new arrivals, listen to their needs and provide assistance. We hold at least one monthly lunch or dinner, which are eagerly anticipated and attract around 60 people.

Gradually, other activities were introduced to offer more options for our members. Each activity has a person in charge who is responsible for the smooth running of their activity. In 2018, we signed an agreement with Boavista Golf & Spa, which provides us with six pétanque (French bowls) tracks and a meeting room for our society games.

Prior to the pandemic, we were always on the lookout for restaurants big enough to welcome us at their tables during our monthly get-togethers. We also have agreements with local shops, garages, restaurants, grocers etc, who give discounts to our members.

We are very active in participating in humanitarian and ecological actions such as financial help towards the local firefighters during the terrible fires in our area. Les Copains de Lagos also participates in beach cleaning operations in cooperation with the local Lagos authorities.

At the beginning of 2020, we opened our own office in Lagos which we share with a health insurance company.

This office houses a library with more than 1200 books and also acts as a welcome point for our members and new arrivals. This development was stopped in its tracks with the arrival of COVID-19 and we had to postpone its inauguration, planned with town officials. Instead, we immediately offered our help to those who needed it in Lagos and our members responded very positively.

We liaise with local farmers and producers, and promote their products to our members, which benefits everyone.

An activity agenda is mailed to members every week, and each month our activity team leaders compile a report which is shared. Our website and Facebook page provide an up-to-date information service. Our small ads service is up and running and works very well amongst our French community.

Our aim is to do our best to satisfy all our members’ requests and we work hard every day to achieve this goal. Our committee members are made up of several volunteers who come from all walks of life; however, we also encourage participation and help in the organisation from any interested member.

A French lady pastry chef recently moved to Lagos and now provides us with her delicacies during our social events. We appreciate Portuguese gastronomy and wines; however, being French, we also love our own wine, cheese and delicatessen (charcuterie). Therefore, from time to time. we organise group orders for our members at very competitive prices.

We have many other projects on the drawing board and sincerely hope they will see the light of day.

This article was posted in French also.Click here to see.

Association «Les Copains de Lagos»
Praca da Municipio Lote J31
8600-302 LAGOS

Tel mob F: +33 6 13 16 91 15
Tel mob P: +351 938 135 275
Tel fixe P: +351 282 074 485
Mail : copainslagos@gmail.com
Site : https://lescopainsdelagos.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/copainsdelagos/
NIF : 514498170


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