North Ayrshire's Provost Anthea Dickson paid a visit to Irvine's language cafe this week.

And she was impressed by way regulars were boosting their English skills in a relaxed and friendly setting.

Provost Dickson said: “I was delighted to meet the people who regularly enjoy the café and get together to socialise, improve their language skills and get other support from the council.

“I was impressed by the project and wish everyone well as they continue to forge friendships, get more involved in the community and develop their English.”

People from places as diverse as Hong Kong and Ukraine have received a warm welcome at the cafe, which is staffed by volunteers.

The weekly meeting was set up with support from North Ayrshire Council after members of the 'New Scots' community asked for an opportunity to boost their language skills in an informal setting.

Irvine Times: Provost Dickson visits the Language Cafe

Daljit Kaur, who runs the Temple of Art Café in Irvine, offered the group a place to meet - and they now get together at her Bank Street spot every Wednesday afternoon from 3.30pm to 5.30pm.

Now those who go along can find out what community activities are happening in their area, get help from volunteers to fill in paperwork including library application forms, improve their English skills by chatting to each other as well as to the Scottish and Syrian volunteers - and find out about council services and support.

The council’s ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) experts and New Scots team, which supports people from countries including Syria and Ukraine who are settling into life in North Ayrshire, are involved in the sessions and Police Scotland have attended to chat informally to the group.

Irvine Times: Provost Dickson meets the team and members

If you would like to volunteer, or attend the Language Café, simply head along to The Temple Of Art Cafe, 27 Bank St, Irvine, on a Wednesday afternoon.

If you know someone whose first language isn’t English and needs support with their English, you can complete a short referral form online here:

If you are interested in finding out more about volunteering opportunities across North Ayrshire to help New Scots improve their English and integrate into their community, you can fill in a form here: