A GARDEN maintenance project in Greenock is putting down roots by helping young people into work while benefiting the local community at the same time.

Oak Tree Housing Association has taken on two apprentices as part of a two-year pilot scheme which is funded by Inverclyde Council.

The young people on the pilot are getting practical experience with a landscaping and grounds maintenance team combined with studying.

Robert Dowds, the project co-ordinator, said: "When they are with me they get practical experience and they also attend college. They are employed by the council.

"The supervisor of the team Scott Bonnar also came through a training course and now he has a full-time job with me."

Greenock Telegraph:

The team have been making planters for a new community garden at Youth Connections in Larkfield, by recycling an old fence.

Apprentice Ryan McCann, 22, from Port Glasgow, said: "I'm loving it here.

"When I came out of school, I bounced about from job to job. I got seasonal work with the council for a few years then this opportunity came up and I am very grateful.

"I worked in an office for a few years and I hated it. Hopefully I'll manage to get a full-time job at the end of it.

"I've also got the option to use the skills I've learned to go anywhere in the world."

The community garden was created through the Food for Thought Programme which has growing spaces at St Andrew's Primary, Aileymill Primary and Larkfield Children Centre.

It also paid for community fridges to provide food from each of these centres.

The funding will run out at the end of the year but is is hoped that the food grown in the gardens will help sustain the project.

Kay Clark, of Youth Connections, said: "We have been growing all sorts of vegetables, spring onions, cauliflower, potatoes and leeks.

"We are delighted with our new planters."