New owners of Victoria Park cafe handed the keys

Mike Taylor, operations director at Society of St James with the leader of Portsmouth City Council Donna Jones.

Picture: Sarah Standing (170729-3206)
Mike Taylor, operations director at Society of St James with the leader of Portsmouth City Council Donna Jones. Picture: Sarah Standing (170729-3206)

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THE new owners of the Victoria Park cafe, in Portsmouth city centre, received the keys today.

The Society of St James will now put the finishing touches to the Cafe in the Park ahead of its opening in a few weeks.

The keys to the building were officially handed over to the society from Portsmouth City Council after the council had spent time refurbishing it.

Mike Taylor, operations director for The Society of St James, said: ‘Taking ownership of the building is an exciting step toward opening soon. We look forward to welcoming people.’

The society took over this summer following a successful tender to provide employment and training opportunities for vulnerable adults.

Cafe in the Park will provide supported paid employment for three adults and a further 10 volunteers will benefit from training under specialist support staff.

Councillor Donna Jones, leader of the council, said: ‘We’re delighted to have reached another milestone in this project and look forward to the Cafe in the Park opening soon.

‘Victoria Park is a much-loved public space and the renovation of the lodge is the start of transforming the park into a more functional and attractive area.’

The council came under fire when they evicted the former owners of the building when it was the Arts Lodge. Police were called to Victoria Park on the morning of the eviction following protests.