A share offer aimed to bring Portpatrick Harbour into community ownership has seen more than 100 investors express interest in the scheme over its first weekend.
The initiative aims to raise £75,000 to regenerate the harbour while engaging the community in the process. The share offer, launched at the Portpatrick Folk Festival on the weekend of 5-6 September, gives locals the chance to purchase community shares in the harbour. which welcomes ships and boats from Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Clyde and Highland sailing grounds.
The minimum investment is £25. Anyone buying shares will become a membership of the society and will have a single vote regardless of the amount of shares purchased.
The share offer will be open until 31 October or when the maximum target is reached. Calum Currie, chair of Portpatrick Community Benefit Society, said “We knew there was a good strong interest out there from local people, regular visitors, sailors, maritime communities and expats keen to invest in our community share offer, but this has been a sprint start with over 100 investors coming forward on day one.
“We have already reached 37% of our target and are extremely heartened by this remarkable support.”
Andrew Jackson, manager of Microgenius, the online platform used by Portpatrick to take in community share investment, added: “The support behind Portpatrick Harbour has been fantastic, and it is one of the fastest moving projects we have
had on Microgenius.
“There were 60 pledges of support in the first 24 hours, which rose to almost 100 in the opening weekend. To be more than a third of the way towards their target in the first few days is an excellent start.”
The share offer is backed by Community Shares Scotland. Programme manager Kelly McIntyre 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.
“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.”
With its pubs, restaurants and cafes, tourists flock to Portpatrick every year by land and sea. The harbour plays a central role in the village’s life.
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 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.”