Coleraine Harbour has benefitted to the tune of £443,000 from the Coastal Communities Fund managed by DOE.
The Coastal Communities Fund is designed to support the economic development of communities along our coasts. It promotes regeneration and sustains economic growth by funding projects that create new jobs as well as safeguarding existing jobs.
Coleraine Harbour Association was awarded funding to improve harbour storage and engineering facilities of 1,500 sq metres, to benefit the boating and tourism communities at Coleraine Harbour and along the Causeway coast to combat the decline in traditional cargo handling.
Environment Minister Mark H Durkan said: “Coleraine Harbour Commissioners have received grants totalling £430,000 to improve their property at the Harbour estate, to benefit the business activity carried on at the Harbour and supporting the local boating, tourism and leisure sectors at the harbour to combat the decline in traditional cargo handling. The aim was to refurbish disused cargo sheds to allow businesses to operate from the refurbished facilities to provide local employment in marine based activities. The proposal was designed to safeguard four jobs and create a further twelve jobs when the project reached completion.
“I have visited Coleraine harbour and am pleased to report that the project build is now complete with the internal fit out concluding. I understand a local company started by two young entrepreneurs The Skunkworks Surf Company will be taking on a 10 year lease of the unit at the beginning of April. At the moment Skunkworks operates from a small workshop in Coleraine.
They manufacture their own surf boards and are NI’s first surfboard company. Their product is custom designed, 100% recyclable surf and body-boards with patent approved in the UK and Europe with a patent pending in the US. They have pitched to Richard Branson and recently won the top place in the Engineering category at Invent 2015, run by the Northern Ireland Science Park. Skunkworks anticipate a capital spend of £500k on equipment and plan to employ 15-18 people over the next three years. The site at Coleraine Harbour is ideal as they’ll be able to test the boards on the water.
“I would urge coastal communities to identify quality projects that would benefit from this fund when it re-opens this summer. What I and DOE are about is building a better environment and a stronger economy. This will help do that.”
“Coleraine Harbour Master Captain Pat McKeegan said: “The introduction of the grant from the Coastal Communities Fund enabled the Harbour Commissioners to reinstate two derelict transit sheds which has been unused for over 20 years.
“The buildings have been completely refurbished and brought up to a standard comparable with a new building enabling immediate occupation by a manufacturing company which is water related and at the same time fits in with the diversification which the Commissioners envisage for the Harbour Estate.”
Rikki Martin, co-founder of SkunkWorks Surf Co.said; “Everyone at SkunkWorks Surf Co. is really excited about moving to our new factory at Coleraine Harbour. The location is perfect for us, in particular that we are beside the river so can launch new boards directly from our production line. The building itself is being finished to a very high spec and the shape of the building and its lay-out is perfect for our production process. In addition to all of these benefits we will bring employment and a ‘new life’ to this area of the North Coast and look forward to growing into a major force in the global surfing industry while keeping 100% of manufacturing in Northern Ireland.”