Action Porty was established in 2016, primarily to take the former Portobello Old Parish Church and halls into community ownership. The context for this initiative was substantial house building in and around Portobello (with a corresponding increase in the size of the population), against a backdrop of diminishing community and public amenity facilities.
Action Porty utilised the Community Right to Buy mechanism to register an interest in, and subsequently to acquire the facility from the Church of Scotland with important support from the Scottish Land Fund.
Bellfield (as the church was re-named) was acquired in September 2017 and after essential repairs and maintenance (partly funded by a crowd-funding exercise) were carried out, was opened to the public in June 2018 as a community hub. Action Porty has ambitious re-development plans, but these will be carried out in a phased way, subject to accessing the necessary funding.
In its first year of operation, Bellfield played host to a range of classes, activities, community meetings and events, concerts, performances, children’s parties and other social gatherings. Beyond Bellfield, Action Porty has been involved in a number of external community activities. This includes leading a successful community-led design week-end in relation to the Westbank site (effectively halting its sale to a luxury housing developer), supporting key community events (such as the Big Beach Busk) and co-ordinating Xmas activities around the High Street in an effort to support local traders.