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Moor buy-out target within reach

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By Donald Turvill
Annan and Eskdale
Moor buy-out target within reach
MSP Joan McAlpine with project leader Kevin Cumming

AS THE funding deadline looms for the community buyout of Langholm Moor, local MSP Joan McAlpine is rallying support to help the initiative reach its target of £4.2 million by the end of this month.

The Langholm Initiative hope to purchase the 5200 acre site to create a ‘community-owned nature reserve’ which protects wildlife and promotes positive climate action, community regeneration and small-scale renewable energy.

Thanks to a handful of successful grants, including £1 million from the Scottish Government-funded Scottish Land Fund, the same sum from the South of Scotland Enterprise and £500,000 each from the Carman Foundation and the Garfield West Foundation, the total is sitting at £3.4 million.

Furthermore, a successful crowdfunding campaign has seen more than £120,000 donated online, with more funds flooding in each day.

The initiative is cautiously optimistic that this cash flow will help to make up the remaining £800,000 needed by October 31. If this target is not met, the Scottish Land Fund’s pledged donation will need to be returned, significantly compromising chances of the buyout going ahead.

South Scotland MSP, Joan McAlpine, said the group is “within touching distance of their target,” adding: “The last thing they want to do is give all that money back and start from scratch, when everyone has worked so hard to reach their goal.”

Ms McAlpine said following a conversation with the initiative’s project leader, Kevin Cumming: “It was great to hear how close they have come to realising their dream of creating a nature reserve on the moor at Langholm. They’ve done an incredible job so far, raising well over £3 million from the Scottish Land Fund, South of Scotland Enterprise and the John Muir Trust, as well as dozens of donations from local well-wishers.

“This is a fantastic project which has caught the imaginations of groups from all across Scotland and beyond – even children from a primary school in Glasgow whose donation has led to a new relationship with local primary schools in Eskdale. These are the kind of thing that make community projects like this so valuable.

“Times are hard but if there are any nature lovers, conservation groups or bird watchers with some cash to spare, please consider giving a little to this group to help them reach their target before time runs out at the end of October.”

Donations can be made at www.gofundme.com/f/langholm-moor-buyout, where more information on the initiative and the project can be found.

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