THE Three Towns Growers have found friendship in some of the "new Scots" who have been volunteering at their allotments.

Syrian and Ukrainian volunteers have been pitching up at the group's Ardrossan base recently as they offer up their time by using their gardening and joinery skills to help the project flourish.

They have helped to paint, build planters and decking, erect a greenhouse and pitch in with other work.

Lucy Russell, New Scots Locality Link Worker with North Ayrshire Council’s Connected Communities service, has been working with the group at the allotments and community garden.

She explained: “The Ukrainian and Syrian New Scots have been contributing to the community gardens at the Three Towns Growers’ allotments by doing things like building planters, helping to build a greenhouse and creating a decking area with a hide, so everyone who uses the gardens can do some nature watching.

“The council supports the new Scots who are volunteering at the gardens by running the garden group once a week.

"We also supply timber and tools, and I assist the volunteers with planning and organising.”

Development worker Marie Doran is halfway through a three-year post, which the council helped get funding for.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Irena at work.

Marie said: “The volunteers have been a great help with things like moving planters so other volunteers who use a wheelchair could get access.

“We wanted a hide for people at the wildlife pond to watch the frogs, newts, Damselflies and honey bees from the five hives we have. We also have foxes, squirrels and bats.

“The New Scots are a breath of fresh air and have been a great help.

"One volunteer has joined our bee group as he was a beekeeper in Ukraine, and he translates for other people in our WhatsApp group."

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Volunteers Mykolaay and Taras.

Various organisations have contributed to the project, including The Ayrshire Community Trust (TACT); New Scots support group Spike Wheat Scots, which supplied tools; and Ardrossan Youth Association, which pays the £30 annual allotment fee.

Yevgen Koziy, from Ukraine, is among the New Scots volunteers who are making friends, learning and sharing skills, socialising and improving their English.

He said: “I wanted to be useful here to the local community. Gardening is very popular in Ukraine, so I was very eager to work in the gardens. In Ukraine most people like planting flowers and grow vegetables – their own vegetables.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Yevgen Koziy.

“We also have an opportunity to communicate, to be more active and socialise with Scottish people. We also share our cultures and try to think about something other than the war. We never forget about it but we continue working on the land like we would do at home.”