Portpatrick Harbour is set to be the first of its kind in Scotland, to become a community-owned asset, funded through community shares.
Launching its community share offer last Saturday it will now be possible for people to become owners in the beautifully situated harbour, in the heart of Portpatrick, which has provided a safe haven for sailors for over 400 years.
With a fanfare of activity during the lively Portpatrick Folk Festival - Community Shares Scotland and Portpatrick Harbour Community Benefit Society are launching their community shares offer to boost their campaign and encourage the local community and all interested parties to sign up and invest. With a minimum of £25 per investor and an optimal target of £75,000, the offer opens today, 5th September 2015, and closes in 8 weeks’ time on 31st October 2015 or when the maximum target is reached.
Instrumental in the Community Shares launch - Kelly McIntyre, Programme Manager, Community Shares Scotland said: “This is a real landmark community share offer being a first all-round for Scotland with 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 and we have already seen amazing amount of interest in potential shares locally and also 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.
Commenting on the future potential of the harbour, Calum Currie chair of Portpatrick Community Benefit Society said: “The real opportunity is in leisure sailing. The Royal Yachting Association predicts a 50% increase in the Scottish sailing sector in the next decade, and this is the wave we want Portpatrick to catch. We need to build the kind of facilities modern boats and their crews need – laundry, stocking up, toilets and showers – and these, allied with our superb geographical advantages and a wonderful village can make Portpatrick a place with a great reputation and a bright future.”
Calum added: “This isn’t just about the bricks and mortar of the harbour wall, but the fabric of the local economy. We believe that the best days for our community are ahead of us – but only if we can seize the opportunity and take responsibility. “
“We need to put the harbour on a stable financial footing and we have acted fast, by taking on a bridging loan of £75,000 from Social Investment Scotland, a lender specialising in supporting social and community businesses like Portpatrick Harbour. We are very grateful for the loan from Social Investment Scotland which will be reimbursed as soon as the community share offer monies have been raised.”
Details on how to invest in Portpatrick Harbour can be found here: