Rebuilt community cupboard to return to Albert Road in Southsea after it was destroyed in a traffic accident
A COMMUNITY cupboard in Southsea that was destroyed in a traffic accident will be reinstated in an effort to help residents make easy donations to people in need.
The sky blue wardrobe was put up outside Portsmouth Yoga in Albert Road in August 2018 before it was wrecked earlier this year.
It had served as a point for residents to drop off food and sanitary goods, on the basis people struggling to make ends meet could take them.
Good Samaritans have since rallied to repair and repaint it, with a new look set to be unveiled on Friday when it returns to the street.
It will take pride of place outside the Life House – a kitchen straddling Albert Road and Harold Road that feeds people on society’s margins.
Southsea brand designer, Timothy Ames, built the original cupboard using wood from 70-year-old voting booth panels and a reclaimed frame.
Mr Ames, 32, said: ‘It was gutting when it was destroyed because it took so long to make.
‘I built the community cupboard at a time when homelessness began to suddenly increase in Portsmouth.
‘Giving money is not always the best thing to do for someone in that upsetting situation, but this frictionless donation system gave people a chance to give up small items that could help someone who doesn’t have an awful lot.
‘It made that so easy – and to see the cupboard being brought back to life is lovely.’
The cupboard was repaired over the summer by Portsmouth retiree Melvyn Davies, at the Maker's Guild in Portsmouth Guildhall.
It was after its reconstruction that Southsea artist Jessa Speed stepped in to repaint it over two days.
Ms Speed was the artist behind its original decoration, which saw flowers and petals on a blue-sky background with clouds.
She said the cupboard’s new look is ‘an interpretation of Southsea’, and hopes donors will leave blankets and clothes inside it for winter.
‘I understand how cold it is at the moment, being Australian,' said Jessa, 28, who runs creative events business Paint Chill Co.
‘This is a great project to help people keep themselves warm at this time of year – and that’s really important.’
Mr Ames thanked bosses at the Maker’s Guild, at Portsmouth Guildhall, who first supplied the tools and tuition to build the community cupboard.
The structure is due to be replaced at 10am on Friday.