A small community in the south of Scotland that hope create a vast new nature reserve have taken another 'tremendous step' forward.
The South of Scotland Enterprise’s Board has announced up to £1 million financial support to the Langholm Initiative charity in its venture to purchase part of Langholm Moor from Buccleuch Estates.
It's thought to be one of Scotland's largest community buyouts and would see the purchase of more than 10,000 acres - valued at £6 million - to create a vast nature reserve to tackle climate breakdown, boost nature restoration and support community regeneration.
The project has gathered significant support both from the local community and further afield, with nearly 2,500 people donating.
Half a million pounds was pledged from the Dunblane-based Carman Family Foundation, just two weeks ago, after the historic plans came under threat.
Project leader Kevin Cumming said the group still faced a "race against time" to raise the rest of the money. He said: "This generous support is a major step towards a successful outcome for the community. We have been working closely with South of Scotland Enterprise over recent weeks, and couldn’t be happier with their commitment to support the people of Langholm.
“We still have a race against time to find the rest of the funding required for a purchase to take place. We are investigating every possible option to ensure the buyout is a success.”
Professor Russel Griggs OBE, Chair of South of Scotland Enterprise, said: “We are delighted to support The Langholm Initiative project, and recognise that our significant contribution will be a tremendous step toward reaching their ambitious funding package.
“As the new economic development agency for the South of Scotland, our plans to further the region’s economic, social and environmental development are at the heart of everything we do, and helping communities to take advantage of the opportunities community asset transfer offers is one the objectives set out for us in the legislation that put us in place.
“Community ownership is a catalytic step in community development and empowerment as it enables communities to make decisions about how assets within their communities are used.
"The successful acquisition of Langholm Moor represents a long-term economic, social and natural capital development project, and we look forward to working with the Langholm Initiative as the situation develops."