The building was originally a public washhouse (a 'steamie'), used not only by the locals, but also by women from Musselburgh, Fisherrow, and other areas. With the advent of Launderettes and the increased availability of washing machines in the home, numbers using the facility declined to the point of becoming uneconomic.
In 1968 it was converted to a different use and became the home of the new Portobello Community Centre.
The Centre is administered by Portobello Community Centre Association, a charitable organisation whose Committee consists entirely of local volunteers and is made up of between 6 and 15 Trustees assisted by the local Councillors and representatives from the Centre's users. The Trustees are wholly unpaid and are members of the local community who wish to help in making the Centre the best it can be.
Unlike most Centres in Edinburgh, it is not funded directly by Edinburgh Council, although they own the building and are responsible for its maintenance.
Instead it is self funding and relies on good business practice to enable it to meet the demands placed on it by its users and by the general community.
We have an ever expanding number of local groups using the Centre and details of the various activities carried on can be found under Groups & Activities at the top of the page.
We are always open to suggestions to improve our service and should you wish to comment, advise, or complain (hopefully constructively) we are always happy to hear from you.
On a day to day basis, the Centre is ably run by our Facilities Co-ordinator, Val who is a Council employee.
On the youth development side, Edinburgh Council provides youth leaders who oversee the programme.
Additionally, for some classes the Centre itself is the provider, employing the leaders directly and charging fees to recover part of the cost.