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 our ultimate 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:
Community Shares Scotland
Tel: 0131 20 3777
For information check out: http://www.communitysharesscotland.org.uk
For further press information contact
Notes to editors:
Who can buy shares?
Anyone over the age of 16 can buy shares. Companies and other corporate bodies will become legal members of the charity, though they will have to nominate who their nominee will be when they make their application. Clubs and other unincorporated groups (such as a group of friends or a family) can also buy shares, but whoever buys them will be the legal owner, and they need to make their own arrangements for how things like votes will be cast on their behalf, and how interest payments and withdrawal will be repaid to everyone who contributed in the first instance.
What’s the minimum investment? The minimum investment is £25. This is because this is an investment proposal in a community business, not a donation to a good cause. There’s also a cost of processing each investment now and every year that person remains an investor, so we can’t set the bar too low or else it’ll end up costing us more than we receive.
Who will run the harbour? The committee of the charity will run the harbour and be responsible for both the long-term development and the day-today operation. There won’t be any paid staff to ensure that costs are kept as low as possible, and the committee are confident that this is a sustainable position.
Is there a maximum I can invest? The maximum is £10,000.
Community Shares Scotland is a national organisation based in Edinburgh and was launched in May 2014 with the aim of growing the community business market through practical application and help people progress their own community businesses. It has a pan Scotland focus and is run by Kelly McIntyre, programme manager and Morven Campbell, programme officer. The three-year programme involves a range of awareness raising and training activities, setting up an information service and providing direct support to communities and groups interested in launching their own Community Share offer.
Examples of local Community Share projects that are running successfully include the Port Appin, community shop in Argyll that has been running since 1983; Uig, Community shop, a vital local resource since 2004 on the Isle of Lewis; FC Unite, football club who play the home league at Gigg Lane in Bury and Green Valley Bakery, Slaithwaite, West Yorkshire. Community Shares Scotland is funded by the Big Lottery Fund Scotland and Carnegie UK Trust. Delivered by DTA Scotland in partnership with the Plunkett Foundation, the Community Shares Unit (a joint project run by Locality and Co-operatives UK) and Rocket Science.
Portpatrick Harbour Community Benefit Society The aim of the Portpatrick Harbour Benefit Society is to become the first Scottish Charitable Community Benefit Society to raise a Community Share Offer. The committee is currently made up of a team of eight committee members, three of who have varied professional management credentials, along with four who hold professional marine qualifications to high stands. Four of the committee have close links with the RNLI having also served as Portpatrick Lifeboat crew for many years.
Social Investment Scotland is a charity and social enterprise that provides loans to other charities, social enterprises and community groups across Scotland. We provide funding for social enterprises by borrowing money from banks and investors, and lending it out at affordable interest rates.
Our mission is simple. We aim to make a lasting, sustainable impact on communities, by helping organisations continue doing the great work they do or expand on that work. Since 2001, we’ve invested £43 million in almost 180 organisations around Scotland, and we continue to manage the largest social enterprise fund in the country.
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