MACC marks decade of community ownership

MACC director Don Mitchell, sitting, and Mark Ewing of TC Young Solicitors signing the paperwork transferring the site into community ownership in 2012.
MACC director Don Mitchell, sitting, and Mark Ewing of TC Young Solicitors signing the paperwork transferring the site into community ownership in 2012.

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Machrihanish Airbase Community Company (MACC) will celebrate 10 years of community ownership on Thursday May 12.

To mark the milestone anniversary, the charity is holding an open day on Saturday May 14, from 10.30am until 4pm at the Officers Mess, MACC Business Park.

There will be hourly guided mini-bus tours from 11am and self-guided walking tours of some of the buildings throughout the day.

The official opening of the newly refurbished Argyll College training facility by Jenni Minto MSP will be held at the start of the open day.

MACC was formed in 2008 when the Ministry of Defence (MoD) planned to put the Machrihanish Airbase up for sale.

Realising the risk of losing control of an asset that supported the local airport, wind turbine factory and 137 private houses to the community, founding members Don Mitchell and Ian Wardrop, who at the time were employed on the site, came up with the madcap idea of buying the airbase from the MoD under the Land Reform Act.

They, with like-minded volunteers, held public meetings and formed MACC.

On May 12 2012, after four years of relentless effort and two overwhelmingly supportive community ballots, MACC bought the airbase from the MoD for the sum of just £1.

The MACC logo, designed by local schoolchildren.
The MACC logo, designed by local schoolchildren.

MACC wishes to thank all the volunteers and, in particular, the members of the community who supported the venture, with more than 97 per cent in support of the community buy-out vote.

Sadly, Don Mitchell’s vision and inspiration was lost to MACC when he died late in 2021.

During the celebratory open day, MACC invites the public to visit the site and see for themselves the progress made over the last 10 years and have their say on the plans for the next 10.

At present, 131 tenants are currently located on site, where approximately 150 people work, playing a vital role in providing employment opportunities for local people.

Since 2014, MACC has donated more than £75,000 to local charities and continues to support charities and community organisations to use the site’s assets for social and fundraising events, as well as offering the Charitable Giving Fund which will open to applicants again in June this year.

Visit eventbrite.co.uk/e/site-tour-of-machrihanish-airbase-tickets-329846047407 to book a free space on one of the MACC site tours.