North Ayrshire Council is offering free acoustic guitars for loan to help residents “relieve stress and anxiety".

The instruments are available for hire from the Harbour Arts Centre in Irvine, as well as from Kilwinning and Kilbirnie Libraries.

Part of the Scotland-wide We Make Music Instrument Libraries initiative, the programme hopes to make learning a musical instrument accessible to help improve people’s general wellbeing.

Councillor Alan Hill, Cabinet Member for Islands and Communities commented: “A great distraction during the chilly winter months when many of us want to retreat indoors, learning to play guitar has a host of benefits from boosting your confidence, improving memory and eye coordination, and providing an enjoyable outlet to relieve stress and anxiety.

“For those of you who have tried to learn guitar earlier in life, please remember that although it is tricky in the beginning - the reason why many people give up learning - it gets so much easier the more you practise.

“Simply pop along to the library in Kilwinning or Kilbirnie or over to the HAC and register your interest.

“This really is a great opportunity to learn something new so I would encourage anyone interested to get involved!”

Alongside the guitar, you will receive a case to carry it in as well as access to an “easy-to-follow” online tutorial guide.

The We Make Music Instrument Libraries programme is piloted by Scottish charity the Music Education Partnership Group.