A COMMUNITY came together to celebrate the reopening of their beloved public toilets following a mammoth fundraising campaign.

The Pangbourne Community Toilets reopened on Saturday, exactly two years after the building was closed by West Berkshire Council (WBC) due to budget pressures.

Action for Pangbourne Toilets Community Trust (APTCT) has since battled hard to raise more than £15,000 to bring the building back into use and has been flushed with success thanks to the help of generous donations and funding from Greenham Trust.

A 99-year lease has been offered by the council to use the Station Road site for £1 per year, but APTCT’s fundraising efforts must continue in order to keep the toilets from being closed again.

Sir Brian Hoskins, chair of the Trustees, said: “We think it is the first time in the entire country that a community group has reopened a toilet.

Reading Chronicle:

Sir Brian Hoskins

“There was a lot of discussion when the toilets were threatened with closure and a large number of residents really thought we should not let them go.”

APTCT formed in January and has since raised £15,400 to keep the toilets running.

Councillor Pamela Bale said the original decision was made with a heavy heart, adding: “It was not a decision that I supported but with our limited funds we had to put money into the services that we are obliged to.

“I was delighted when the Trust decided to pick up the baton and do what they can to reopen the toilets and it is another example of community spirit.”

The exhaustive fundraising campaign means the community will be able to use the centre for at least another 12 months.

Antoinette Solera, another trustee for APTCT explained: “There is a great sense of volunteering and civic pride in Pangbourne and we get a lot of visitors come through.

“It is not just about the building. It has been a symbol of community spirit, determination and a feeling that public toilets are disappearing all over the country and it is vital resource for people.

“I have heard a number of stories from people who have said they struggled over the last two years without them and it is clear they play a huge part in the community.”