Edinburgh Spiders: Volunteers making camouflage nets to help protect Ukrainian forces

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Each week a group of volunteers come together to make camouflage nets for the Ukrainian army

A group of volunteers, who make camouflage nets for the Ukrainian army are urging Edinburgh residents to get behind them. Since August last year, the Edinburgh Spiders have been meeting twice a week at Morningside United Church, creating large nets from donated fabrics that help protect soldiers, equipment and buildings from drone attacks.

The group has now expanded to operating in three locations across the city after the nets proved so popular with the Ukraine forces that orders have increased in recent months. Two weeks ago, co-organiser Hanna Tekliuk, received another order for 30 nets, meaning the Edinburgh Spiders are now even more reliant on financial contributions, fabric donations and more volunteers in order to help the Ukrainian military defend their country.

Hanna said: “So far we have made 37 nets and they were very warmly received by Ukrainians. We’re getting big orders so we’re asking people to help with cotton materials and we welcome volunteers of all nationalities and ages. If people are interested we would be extremely grateful for any financial help, we won’t be able to continue without these three components.”

Volunteers from the Edinburgh Spiders meet up each week to make camouflage nets for the Ukrainian armyVolunteers from the Edinburgh Spiders meet up each week to make camouflage nets for the Ukrainian army
Volunteers from the Edinburgh Spiders meet up each week to make camouflage nets for the Ukrainian army

After arriving in Scotland last year, Hanna launched the organisation with her daughter Sofia last summer with a team of four people. Hanna said it took one month to make their first net, creating the base net from scratch out of twine. Now the group use anti pigeon nets as a base and an increase in volunteers mean they can complete a net from start to finish in four hours.

The mother of three explained that long thin materials work best for net making, allowing the group to work faster and reducing the number of knots in the net – making the nets lighter for soldiers to transport. She said: “Hotels are very good at supplying material for us. They have lots of old sheets that are perfect for us – they are usually white so they are easy to dye, they are easily torn and we can make long strips out of them. The best colours for camouflage are brown, green, beige and grey.”

Hanna said joining the group not only helps protect soldiers, important buildings and temporary field hospitals but it also brings people from all backgrounds together. She said: “It’s not only Ukrainians, there are many nationalities – Italians, British, Polish, a Japanese lady came to help us a few weeks ago and we are super happy that we have this multinational, very inclusive initiative. We’re functioning like a networking centre, a tea and coffee club and we provide art therapy for people - people have to be creative to make the nets. I think it’s a great community and we are so lucky to have it.”

Edinburgh Spiders meet at the Morningside United Church between 4pm and 8pm on Friday and Saturday, with varying times and dates at St Cuthbert Church and the Heart of Newhaven Community Centre. For more information on volunteering and how to donate fabrics you can visit their telegram page. The group has also set up a JustGiving page to help buy base netting and pay for transportation costs.