Blog article

Harbouring dreams of community ownership - the brilliant Portpatrick Harbour success story

Residents of a Scottish coastal village pulled together to save the harbour that lay at the heart of their community.

Owned by an investment company in the Channel Islands, Portpatrick’s harbour was falling into disrepair. So when the opportunity to purchase it arose, residents formed a co-operative in order to buy it.

They ran a short campaign to raise the capital - and received an overwhelming response. Over 360 people in the local area invested between £25 and £10,000 to raise the £100,000 needed to take ownership of this vital community asset.

For the chair of Portpatrick Harbour’s co-op, Calum Currie, the harbour offered the village a fantastic opportunity to bring jobs and tourism to the village.

“The Royal Yachting Association predicts a 50 per cent 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.

“These, allied with our superb geographical advantages and a wonderful village, can make Portpatrick a place with a great reputation and a bright future.”

The co-op has now assumed the management and running of the harbour. It has taken control of the public toilets from the local council which had been left without staff due to budget cuts, is raising funds to resurface the harbour and is has installed new moorings which have increased the revenue coming into the village. 

Because it is owned by the community, the harbour is beginning to bring financial benefits to Portpatrick. But as always, community ownership is about more than this.

“The harbour lies at the heart of the village. It is as important to Portpatrick as the village green is to many other communities throughout Britain. This isn’t just about the bricks and mortar of the harbour wall, but the fabric of the local economy.”

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Updated: 25/05/2019