Busy East Preston toilet block saved from closure by group of residents

A community has banded together to save public toilets from closure.

Residents from East Preston formed the South Strand Community Toilets group to save the conveniences from designed closure when they took over the lease from the local authority.

Next to the beach huts, the loos are used daily by walkers, visitors, local residents and the local infants school when they visit for beach school.

So, when founder members and local residents George Schlich, Steven Wilkinson, Catriona Mason and Maria Botting found out they were slated for closure, they formed the community benefits society ‘South Strand Community Toilets’.

Members of the South Strand Community Toilets group at the facilities in East Preston

They set about fundraising and finding people who would be willing to regularly contribute towards the operating costs. They now have a further volunteer, Amanda Berry, to help with the daily management and administration.

Amanda said: “It really is a whole-village community effort: today the toilets are funded by the beach hut owners, Angmering-on-Sea Estate Residents’ Association, Kingston Parish Council, East Preston Parish Council, West Kingston Estate Residents’ Association, East Preston Infants School, individual residents who have joined the society and donations.”

SSCT took over the lease from Arun District Council and have improved and upgraded the toilet facilities through general repairs, internal and external decorating kindly carried out by local decorator Kevin Botting, installing new taps to enable both humans and dogs to have a drink after their walk (and now from separate taps) and improving the appearance.

The addition of some planted boxes has brightened up the outside

Amanda Berry said: “We often find little notes left for the committee of SSCT complimenting the toilets and how clean and well maintained they look.

“Now proudly installed on the toilets wall is a shiny new defibrillator, courtesy of the combination of a very generous donation from a local resident couple and money from the Yarn-bombers bike auction.

“Like many businesses, SSCT has encountered difficulties due to the pandemic with donations down and the lack of fund-raising events to attend, however the aim is to do the best and continue to improve the facilities for the benefit of all who need them.

“The toilets will only survive with continuing donations, big or small from the community.”

People can donate in the collection boxes inside the toilets and at OneStop. The East Preston Parish Council office will also accept donations on the group’s behalf.

Find the grouop on Facebook at www.facebook.com/groups/1251528968567494