In just under two weeks since the official community share offer launch, Community Shares Scotland and Portpatrick Harbour Community Benefit Society are celebrating as the share offer reaches their initial target of £75,000 and rockets towards the upper limit of £100,000.
This means the village of Portpatrick will be able to save and secure the harbour into full community ownership for the first time ever completely funded through community shares. This will make those who invested proud owners in the beautifully situated harbour, in the heart of Portpatrick, which has provided a safe haven for sailors for over 400 years.
Calum Currie chair of Portpatrick Community Benefit Society said “This is a stunning result in a very short period of time, so clearly the appetite was there to bring the harbour into community ownership. We have had incredible support and enthusiasm from our local community, regular visitors, sailors, maritime communities and expats keen to invest in our community share offer, but this has been a sprint from the minute the community shares offer was announced.
Calum added: “We now have the opportunity to make an even bigger impact by raising a further £25,000 to achieve ourultimate goal of £100,000. This would allow us to further advance the regeneration of the harbour by improving much needed harbour facilities.”
Instrumental in the Community Shares launch - Kelly McIntyre, Programme Manager, Community Shares Scotland said: “This is a breath-taking result and a real landmark community share offer for Scotland and Portpatrick being the first Scottish charitable Community Benefit Society to launch a community share offer for a harbour.”
Kelly added: “This takes community ownership to a whole new level with the amazing amount of interest in community shares locally and from across the globe. It is a testament to the enthusiasm of the Portpatrick team which we hope will inspire many other community projects throughout Scotland to move forward apace.”
The village of Portpatrick has the closest harbour to Northern Ireland on the Scottish coast, and perfectly situated for boats travelling across the Irish Sea and up and down the west coast. It is also the only port on this stretch of coastline that is close to open water and not dependent on tides. The village also has an established selection of pubs, restaurants and cafes that make it an attractive stopping point.
In addition, Portpatrick Harbour has a venerable history stretching back to the 1600s. The inner harbour wall was the last major work undertaken in the 1840s, just as the mail trade which has been its bread and butter departed. Since then it has struggled by being too small for the ferry and freight trade.
And welcoming the Portpatrick initiative, Community Empowerment, Minister Marco Biagi said: “The Portpatrick community is taking an innovative approach to modernising the local area, and I wish them the best of luck with their community shares scheme. This shows how a community can take control of its own future by playing a direct role in contributing to local assets, and providing employment and leisure opportunities. Our Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act provides communities with more rights to take over abandoned private land in both urban and rural areas, giving them opportunities to transform areas that have previously been neglected.”
Also commenting on the community share offer success, Andrew Jackson, manager of Microgenius, the online platform that Portpatrick are using to take in community share investment said: “The support behind Portpatrick Harbour has been fantastic, and it is one of the fastest moving projects we have had on Microgenius and we are delighted to hear they have reached their initial target”.
Details on how to invest in Portpatrick Harbour can be found here: