Angus McGuire is part of our Corporate team at Young & Partners. He has a passion for innovation and enterprise.
I was delighted to hear about a new community ownership scheme launched in Portpatrick, Dumfries & Galloway to take control of the historic harbour. This is a great example of a project which is funded and supported by the local community in order to own and protect an asset of great importance to the people of Portpatrick.
There must be lots of unused assets and local needs (in both rural and urban areas) which could be created or saved by the local community coming together (i.e. an old village hall, overgrown sports grounds, set up a local shop (or pub/microbrewery!), fund a local sports team, install a wind turbine etc). In addition to the benefits of creating a new asset, there would also be scope for the local community to make money from it (i.e. weddings, events, rental fees, sponsorship etc) which could in turn be used to fund ongoing costs and other projects as well as returning money to the investors.
I have a real passion for local initiatives as I often think the people best placed to take action in a local community are the community themselves. The excitement of setting up a new venture and investing your own time and money in a project strengthens the bonds within the community, energises the project and creates a buzz. I’ve previously blogged on the Detroit Soup project and am also a big admirer of the community owned St Pauli Football Club in Hamburg, Germany; in addition to being a football club it promotes social values, helps local charities and is integral part of the local community in Hamburg.
So how do you start going about raising the money? The Portpatrick scheme used the services of Community Shares Scotland, a body funded by the Big Lottery Fund Scotland and Carnegie UK Trust, in order to help launch and raise the equity. £75,000 was raised for the Portpatrick scheme so you could see that a relatively modest investment of £500 by 150 different people would be sufficient to raise that level of finance.
I’d be really interested to talk with anyone who thinks that they would be interested in setting up a scheme in their local community to save an existing asset or create a new one.
Please contact Angus McGuire on 01383 721621 or by e-mail.