ELLESMERE residents are being asked to consider taking part in a scheme that can help Ukrainian families settling in the town come together.

Facebook group Ellesmere Elves and its organiser Joanne Lesley have teamed up with local foodstore and coffee house Moolah, in Scotland Street, to offer a private space for refugees and host families to meet.

Pip Elms, owner of Moolah, says she offered to facilitate the meet-ups as part of the town's wider support for community and others.

She said: "There is a Facebook group called the Ellesmere Elves, which was created a few years ago to provide anyone local who may need something.

"It was borne out of someone needing a lift and the community of Ellesmere is always helpful when they know about these sorts of things, but it was about how they got that information out there.

"Joanne set up the Elves to provide that forum, and there's people asking for help and other people trying to move stuff on such as baby things.

"It's a community facility that everyone can lock into, and I've known Joanne for years as she's a customer – she just threw out a suggestion on Facebook that she was thinking of arranging a meet-up for families coming from Ukraine.

"If they had that network of people they might like to get to know, and she asked for a venue so I said we would do it at Moolah.

"We can offer a space on a day that we're closed and can have complete freedom without feeling they're on show."

Pip says she is hoping her customer base, as well as others in the town, can help towards ensuring these meetings are for the families are successful by taking part in a 'pay-it-forward-scheme’.

She added: "There was such an outpouring of support in Ellesmere wanting to help that we thought of it as a way of providing funds towards cakes or treats for the families to give a whole hospitality experience.

"It's a good way of giving an outlet for those people who wanted to help as there's been so much support, such as the table-top sale last weekend.

"We've had various donations from the community for the scheme and I just want to say how proud of our town and how welcoming they are of everybody."