The Portobello Old Parish Church and halls have been used for over two centuries as a hub of community activity, playing a role in lives as a place to celebrate and mourn, and to meet, dance and play.
In April 2016, the merger of Portobello’s three Church of Scotland congregations into one at Portobello and Joppa Parish Church raised concerns that the space on Bellfield Street would be lost.
With its future in question, a group of local volunteers began working together with the goal of retaining this space as a community resource – owned by the community, for the community. You can read more about the early days of the project here.
In September 2016, Action Porty initiated a Community Right to Buy application, and sought funding from the Scottish Land Fund to enable us to bring experts on board. Together we created a vision and business plan for the space, which you can read more about here.
From March 20th 2017 local residents received ballot papers asking them whether they supported our community buyout bid. The result was announced on 5th April, showing 98.7% support among respondents.
The application, ballot information, and plan for the space went to a government minister for a final decision at the end of April. The Government recognised our right to buy the space, the first decision of its kind in urban Scotland. The Scottish Land Fund also agreed to cover 94% of the asking price for the building.
Now we are into the challenging phase of developing the plans, putting the processes in place, and securing the funds to make the community’s vision a reality.
On 6th September 2017 Action Porty got hold of the keys. An open day on September 9th previewed the space to the community. Essential remedial work began, prior to Bellfield opening to the community in June 2018.
If you would like to donate to the project, you can do so through Paypal below or by sending a cheque made out to ‘Action Porty’ to 53 Brunstane Road, Edinburgh, EH15 2QS.