About Us

Welcome to Harbour Hope, a non-profit organisation dedicated to fostering community resilience and environmental stewardship in Oban. Our mission is to integrate human activities with the local ecosystem, enhancing both cultural and ecological resilience. 

Through the Harbour Hope Collective, we focus on two core pillars: 

People and Community: which aims to create affordable housing, revive cultural projects, and build a vibrant, inclusive community.

Land and Sea: dedicated to rewilding efforts, conservation projects, and sustainable environmental interactions. 

Together, these initiatives embody our commitment to a sustainable and vibrant future for Oban, demonstrating the transformative potential of community-centric development.

Core Values

  • Community: Building inclusive, cooperative spaces for living and learning.
  • Sustainability: Emphasising permaculture and ecological stewardship.
  • Integration: Blending arts, sciences, and community living with the natural environment.
  • Innovation: Pioneering new approaches to rural and coastal community development.

The Vision

At Harbour Hope, we are driven by a vision to reclaim Oban for its residents, fostering a sustainable future where people and nature are seamlessly integrated. Our initiatives aim not only to revitalise the local environment but also to rekindle the soul of the area, transforming Oban into a vibrant, year-round community that thrives beyond the seasonal tourist influx. This transformative project aligns with the values of our financial partners, like Ecology Building Society and Coop Finance, who champion community resilience, environmental stewardship, and cultural enrichment.

Founding Members

Peggy Messeiller-Henery

Peggy is a humanitarian aid worker-turned-student of marine science. After meeting Elliott through working in the humanitarian sector, travelling much of the world, and eventually marrying, they decided to settle in Scotland after Peggy visited the Outer Hebrides and saw a sign for the University of the Highlands and Islands. The draw of the rugged landscape and spectacular seascapes sold her on Scotland as a home. She has recently begun working in a lab, expanding her knowledge of sediment beasties. In her free time, Peggy chairs the local dive club and has been improving her understanding of knots and boats, in between finding dogs to adopt.

Elliott Messeiller-Henery

Elliott has a background in the humanitarian sector. After they met in Kabul, he married Peggy and travelled through various corners of the world. A keen diver, Scotland’s west coast waters are ideal for Elliott, who now works from home for the World Health Organisation, continuing much of his work performed in the field as a data scientist. Outside of work, Elliott volunteers his time mentoring at Oban High School, supporting the local dive club as the Equipment Officer, growing mushrooms, and hiking and foraging his way around the west coast of Scotland.

Theo Bennison

Theo is a marine biologist, artist, and musician who found home in Oban after working on a small vessel at the end of a research campaign investigating the impacts of trawled fishing gear on marine habitats and Priority Marine Features throughout Scottish waters. He has a background in educating the public on Scotland’s wild and wondrous sea life and environment during his time at a Scottish native marine life aquarium in the northeast of Scotland. He paints and designs – usually with marine life subjects, SCUBA dives, and plays guitar and sings with River in a casual performing duo.

River Martin

River is a musician hailing from the Great Glen in the Highlands of Scotland. River’s passion for music and performing started at a very young age with both of their parents coming from families of musicians and singers. During the pandemic they settled in Oban, after living and gigging around much of the UK, where there is a thriving live music scene. In more recent years, River ventured into the world of non-formal education. They attended the two different levels of Erasmus+ personal development training courses as a participant. Soon after, River started to work as a trainer on these courses, taking them to different places in Europe, such as Hungary and the highlands of Czechia. 

Bug Chambers

Bug is a scientist in training and a cautiously hopeful creative type. They get by on sarcasm and carbohydrates. Bug is originally from the northeast of Scotland, and moved out to Oban for university two years ago. They have a love of confusing poetry and upsetting art. Bug does a lot of reading in their spare time, and they snorkel and dive semi-regularly. Bug’s favourite sharks are epaulette sharks as they can walk on land for short periods. Bug’s goals are to live healthily and happily with like-minded people and to give time to creative projects that uplift others in addition to themself.