IF YOU ARE out and about in Castlemilk, watch out – the Welly Wanderers are about.

This delightful bunch of mini-but-mighty heroes take great pride in their community, and can often be spotted in their bright red jackets, cleaning up local woodlands.

The Castlemilk outdoor nurseries programme was designed as an innovative way to improve health and wellbeing and engagement with outdoor learning.

The partnership programme is being delivered by Glasgow City Council, Inspiring Scotland and eight council and partnership nurseries in the Castlemilk area, allowing around 400 local children to play, learn and have great fun outdoors.

A growing body of research shows that children’s exposure to nature and active outdoor play improves physical and mental wellbeing and can help children to develop emotionally and improve learning.

The Castlemilk Outdoor Nursery programme is one of three established across the city under the partnership with others established in Drumchapel and the east end.

The Welly Wanderers were out in force recently for an innovative clean-up in Castlemilk organised by Glasgow City Council’s Neighbourhood Improvement and Enforcement Service.

The community event, promoted on social media with the hashtag #givinganhour brought together a whole range of partners from across Castlemilk, including Glasgow Life, McDonald’s fast food restaurants, Southside Housing, Glasgow Housing Association, Capability Scotland and several local schools and nurseries.

Fair Deal at the Tower and staff from Linn Cemetery also got on board, with pupils and staff from Castletoun, Miller, St. Bartholomew’s and St John Paul II Primaries, and St. Margaret Mary’s Secondary School.

The Welly Wanderers – which comprises children from the Jeely Piece Club Nursery and seven other nurseries in Castlemilk – joined in with gusto, as head of early years Elaine McKenna explains.

“Giving an hour was a great event – it’s amazing to be part of an initiative where everyone just comes together and works to improve the local area,” she said.

“It really brought the community together, which is what we at the Jeely Piece Club are all about.”

She adds: “The Welly Wanderers has been really successful. We are now in the second year of the pilot and hundreds of children across the eight nurseries have benefitted.

“They go out into the woods and build dens, swing on hammocks, play on water slides and create fish ponds – you name it, they do it. It’s a lot of fun.”

Jackie McIver, head teacher Castleton primary said the school had been delighted to take part in Giving an Hour.

“As a school we are really community-minded, and we are trying hard to build up relationships with partners outside the gates,” she explained.

“We want our pupils to respect not just their school and classmates, but the community outside the school gates and to understand that if it’s not okay to drop litter in the playground, it’s not okay to do it on the streets either.”

The school also works closely with local sheltered housing complexes, with some of the young pupils going out to visit and sing for elderly residents.

“We have a strong eco committee too, working towards our next Eco Flag, and we are working with Sowing Seeds too, to enhance the green spaces we have in our grounds.”

Schools have been at the heart of Streets Ahead since we launched our campaign in 2011. Tell us why your school is Streets Ahead! Email ann.fotheringham@heraldandtimes.co.uk