A WELSH rural community with a shared ambition to enhance biodiversity on community-owned land and local farmland is one step closer to securing funding to fulfil that goal.

Talley Community Amenity Association (TCAA) wanted to create the conditions for wildlife and plants to thrive on a 24-hectare piece of land owned by the village of Talley, near Llandeilo.

The opportunity to do that came through the Sustainable Management Scheme (SMS), administered by the Welsh Government Rural Communities - Rural Development Programme. This provides financial support for a range of activities to manage natural resources and in doing so contribute to the well-being of rural communities.

The funding will be used to improve land management, water quality and soil management on 800 hectares around Talley and Cwmdu.

The project, called ‘Local LAND’, has been successful at Expression of Interest (EOI) stage and has now applied for a grant of £522,653.

Catherine Nakielny, who farms in Talley and is a member of the TCAA, helped to instigate the project.

She said: “There was a desire to develop the community land for the benefit of the local and wider communities and to link this to wider land ownership to deliver environmental goods such as improving water retention in the uplands and managing woodlands.”

Smallholder and TCAA chair Linda Tame says the community is delighted the application was successful.

The project will tackle local challenges including social isolation, access to outdoor education for local schools and the provision of amenity facilities for residents and visitors.

It has already brought the community closer, says TCAA treasurer Angie Hastilow, through volunteering opportunities.

“One of our first jobs will be to appoint two part-time staff, one of whom will be tasked with engaging the local community, including the school, with the project,’’ says Mrs Hastilow.

Talley and Cwmdu will host an open day at Talley on April 24, at 10am at The Plough, Rhosmaen.

For morevisit businesswales.gov.wales/farmingconnect/events or call 08456 000 813.