WOODLAND areas in the South Side of Glasgow could be leased to a charity that combats social isolation through gardening.

Councillors will decide this week whether to hand over land at Prospecthill Circus, Toryglen, to Urban Roots Initiative, a community-led charitable organisation, for a 20-year period.

The group would pay a £750 annual fee to rent the area, which it has been managing for a number of years.

“The Urban Roots Initiative works to increase social inclusion, education and encourage environmental involvement through gardening and growing, with healthy eating as an additional outcome,” said Richard Brown, Glasgow City Council’s executive director of regeneration and economy.

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“The workforce is mainly comprised of volunteers. It has been managing this woodland for a number of years and now wishes to secure its occupancy by entering into a formal lease.

“This will have the additional benefit of allowing access to external funding sources who insist on applicants having security of occupation.”

Urban Roots – a previous overall winner and best environmental initiative winner in the Evening Times’ annual Streets Ahead awards – evolved out of the Toryglen Gardening Club, which was started in 2004 by local people who wanted to improve a piece of land at the back of the tower blocks.

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It has since taken on a range of projects, transforming numerous areas of derelict land and unused green spaces into community gardens, where herbs, vegetables, fruit and flowers can be grown.

The group aims to “inspire and enthuse people to take positive steps to improve their environment and quality of life”.

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It also involves encouraging children and young people to get involved, allowing them to play and learn outdoors.