The village of Portpatrick has the closest harbour to Northern Ireland on the Scottish coast. Portpatrick harbour has a rich history reaching back over 400 years, serving 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.
Although the harbour is still active today, it is in need of repairs and modernising. In July 2015, members of the community formed the Portpatrick Harbour Community Benefit Society with the aim of saving and securing Portpatrick Harbour into full community ownership for the benefit of all.
They opened a share offer to anyone interested in supporting community ownership of their harbour: uniting the people who can make decisions about the harbour with the community of people who depend on it.
Community Shares is a special form of investment relating to the sale of shares in enterprises serving a community purpose. They had a target of £75,000 and a maximum limit of £100,000. The minimum investment was set at £25 and the maximum investment at £10,000 per person.
Ahead of their deadline, in September 2015, Portpatrick Harbour Community Benefit Society, alongside their partner Community Shares Scotland, announced they had reached their upper target of £100,000.
Kelly McIntyre, Programme Manager, Community Shares Scotland said: “Community engagement has been truly outstanding and our pre-launch and ongoing campaign activity went a long way to ensuring the success of this project.”
The project will help to bring stability and economic benefit to the local community and will be financially viable and self-sustainable, preserving this historic asset for the benefit of current and future generations. It will also give the community the opportunity to make decisions on the sustainable development of their seafront.
Calum Currie, chair of Portpatrick Harbour Community Benefit Society, said: “It has been truly astounding the pace at which the community share offer took off with great encouragement from both local and international investors and we hope this success will trigger other groups with community projects to make that bold leap too.”
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