Offenders are helping clear a community woodland of rubbish and fly-tipping. 

Community Payback teams have joined a clean-up of Malls Mire, Toryglen, organised by Urban Roots. 

Malls Mire is an area of 8.5 hectares of mixed woodland and wetland habitat between Toryglen and Rutherglen. It is home to flora and fauna including deer, foxes and birds but the area has been blighted by fly-tipping. 

People from the surrounding communities have been working with Urban Roots to manage the woodland since 2009, improving its value for wildlife and improving the paths so more people can access the site. 

As part of the council’s Clean Glasgow campaign, Glasgow Community & Safety Services (GCSS) has supported the work by supplying volunteers with litter pickers, skips and refuse sacks. 

GCSS also operates a Community Payback service in partnership with the council’s social work department. It provides placements for offenders sentenced to Community Payback orders by the courts. This service is now supplying supervised labour to boost the volunteers’ efforts at Malls Mire. 

Tom Cooper of Urban Roots community group said: “Rubbish has been dumped on the site over the years and litter has also been blown into the woods. We’re gradually clearing the debris with the help of volunteers from various organisations as well as the Community Payback teams. It’s an ongoing project not just to make the woodland more attractive and better habitat for wildlife but also to make it safer for people. We take a lot of children’s group there to teach them about nature. 

“There is also a large area of marshland among the trees and when the rubbish breaks down it also releases toxins into the water.” 

GCSS also teaches some offenders carpentry skill to boost their chances of gaining employment and reduce reoffending. Three benches made by the teams have also been donated to the Toryglen woodland project. 

Bailie Fariha Thomas, Chair of GCSS, said: “This clean-up is a prime example of the work done across the city by offenders fulfilling community payback orders. It is heartening to see communities benefitting from restorative justice. 

“Offenders clean, maintain and enhance sites under supervision and I’m sure their efforts will be of great assistance to the Urban Roots project. The three benches made by the service are also beautiful additions to the nature reserve.”