BIG-HEARTED kids from a Galashiels nursery have been putting in a shift cleaning up their community.

Staff and pupils from the Burgh Early Years Centre recently returned to the Gala Policies to help clean up litter which has become an increasing problem at the local green space.

Children raised concerns with staff after their first visit when they saw rubbish strewn around the area which they felt was both unhygienic and dangerous to wildlife.

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Burgh senior early years officer Amy Muir said: "Our school always seeks to encourage the children to be responsible citizens and think about the consequences of our actions and how they can create positive change in their lives and communities.

"We took the children on a visit to the Policies to give them a greater understanding of nature and whilst we had a fun day they were really upset by the volume of litter they saw cast aside in this beautiful part of the town.

“When we got back to school they were saying things like, ‘This is not safe,’ and, ‘What if the animals get hurt?’ so we decided to go back next week with our litter pickers and rubbish bags to collect as much as we could.

“It gave the children a real sense of achievement and even at such an early age it’s important we encourage them to play their part in society. The Policies are an important resource for Gala and schools like ours use it to help inspire children to enjoy nature, the children hope that people follow their example and take pride in the town."

COVID lockdowns saw a large rise in the number of people using the Policies and while this has positives for people’s health and wellbeing, there has also been an increase in the volume of litter left.

Volunteers from the local Gala Policies group arrange regular clean-ups.

But the children are hoping that the rest of those using the area each day will follow their example and take their own litter away or help to keep the area tidy by getting involved with community clean-ups.

Head teacher Kirsty Hadden said: "We are very proud of our young people who have used their voice speak out about their concerns and actively make a difference in the community.

“They have demonstrated their ability to be responsible citizens and have shown their commitment in their actions to see this through. A massive well done to all of them. They really are the Pride of Burgh and Galashiels."