Portslade public toilets transformed into a cafe with help from police and crime commissioner

Customers line up at the Portslade Community Cafe
Customers line up at the Portslade Community Cafe

A disused public toilet has become a hub for the community after being transformed into a cafe.

Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Katy Bourne granted £5,000 to the group to complete refurbishment in 2015.

The converted toilet intended to give the area a fresh start from rife anti-social behaviour and vandalism.

Since then, Fresh Start Portslade has become a hub for residents of all ages and has now benefited from more grant funding.

Mrs Bourne said: “The fact that where the café is located was once a no-go area and a hot spot for anti-social behaviour but has now been turned around is wonderful news for residents.

“It tells me that local organisations and community groups care about – and are committed to – helping keep Sussex safe.

“The free activities and workplace training they offer have proven to increase community cohesion, reduce fear of crime and decrease social isolation for our more vulnerable residents. I’m delighted to support this unique community initiative which is changing this local area for the better.”

The group works with community projects to provide free clubs for older residents, IT training, activities for children, and history projects.

Fresh Start has now been awarded a further £2,500 from Mrs Bourne’s Safer in Sussex Fund to expand its free activities for Portslade residents.

John Shepherd, a project worker at Fresh Start Portslade said: “We are so grateful for Katy Bourne’s support and visit to our project back in 2015.

“The PCC’s support from day one installed us with confidence and ambition, gave credibility to the project, and was the springboard we needed.

“Almost five years on, we have gone from strength-to-strength and continue to make a difference to the community of Portslade, all thanks to that kick-start in 2015 and the PCC’s support.”