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Donation boost to moorland crowdfunder

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By Fiona Reid
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Donation boost to moorland crowdfunder

LANGHOLM’S community led nature restoration dream has taken a big step forward after Rewilding Britain donated £20,000 to their crowdfunder appeal.

And the boost helped tip the fundraising over £100,000.

The Langholm Initiative is seeking to raise £2.2 million to double the size of the vast new Tarras Valley Nature Reserve, created last year following the successful first stage of the South of Scotland’s biggest community land buyout.

Success would boost plans for community regeneration, including nature-based tourism opportunities, and for tackling the nature and climate emergencies.

Over 1000 people from across the UK and the world have now donated to the public crowdfunder on Go Fund Me at bit.ly/LangholmMoorAppeal, which aims to raise at least £150,000 of the £2.2m needed.

Tarras Valley Nature Reserve estate manager Jenny Barlow said: “Thanks to the donation from Rewilding Britain and the amazing support and generosity of so many people from across the UK and the world, we’ve taken our ‘impossible dream’ another step closer to reality.

“But we have a long way to go if we are to safeguard this land for future generations by bringing it into community ownership. A big push is needed over the next few weeks to get us over the line. We really need people to keep donating to the crowdfunder, while we also seek support from major funders.”

Rebecca Wrigley, Rewilding Britain’s chief executive, said: “The people of Langholm are showing how community-led nature recovery projects can make a real difference for people, nature and climate, and this hugely important project deserves all the support it can get.

“The buyout is an inspiring example of local empowerment and the positive change that can happen when people come together with a bold vision. We’re delighted to add our support alongside the remarkable generosity shown by over 1000 people worldwide, and we urge major funders to back the appeal and help the community achieve something truly historic.”

They are in a race against time to complete the buyout by purchasing a remaining 5300 acres of Langholm Moor from Buccleuch, before the land is put on the open market after the May 31 deadline – or the community’s chance of purchasing the land will be lost forever.

If the land goes on the open market, its price will probably rise beyond the community’s reach. There are fears it may then be bought by corporate investment firms, which are land banking in Scotland.

The first phase of the buyout saw the Langholm Initiative and Buccleuch reach an agreement of £3.8 million for 5200 acres of land and six residential properties in October 2020. On the resulting nature reserve, globally important peatlands and ancient woods are being restored, native woodlands established, and a haven ensured for wildlife, while jobs on the land have risen to six from zero

To find out more, visit langholminitiative.org.uk.

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