Syrian refugees open bakery on Isle of Bute

A father and son-in-law who fled war-torn Syria have gone on to open a bakery business on Bute since arriving on the island as refugees.

The opening of Helmi's Pattiserie. From left, Bashar Helmi, Michael Russell MSP, Morag Brown. Picture: Iain Cochrane.

Bashar Helmi and his son-in-law Mohamed Helmi opened Helmi’s Patisserie in Rothesay last Sunday.

Within two hours of opening their doors they were sold out of their homemade treats, which were eagerly snapped up by locals.

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A packed store saw dozens of customers tuck into sweets, cakes, pastries and savouries.

Bashar, who manages Helmi’s, was delighted with the first day of business at the shop. He said: “I couldn’t believe we were sold out so quickly. I hope everyday is like this! It’s a very good start for us.”

With Bashar in charge, Mohamed is responsible for creating all the tasty goods.

Bashar added: “My son-in law ran a patisserie in Syria for 16 years, so we are delighted to have opened this patisserie here in Rothesay.”

The latest business owners on Bute have settled in nicely to life on the island since fleeing war in their homeland.

“I have been here on Bute for two years and six months now,” said Bashar. “I have settled in. It’s home now. I have been made to feel very welcome here.”

Among those in attendance at the launch of Helmi’s Patisserie in Rothesay were local MSP Michael Russell and Refugee Resettlement Group member Morag Brown.

This story originally appeared in The Buteman