Once-0bsolete red phone boxes in the Borders villages of Crailing, Eckford and Nisbet have gone Green, and are now being used as tourist information points and community information exchanges.
The iconic red phone boxes contain leaflets, giving advice on ways to protect our environment. Each has a sales and swaps notice board that will assist waste reduction by encouraging residents to recycle by selling or gifting unwanted items. The boxes have solar power, making them accessible 24 hours a day.
Visitors to the villages can access literature on the local area and information panels with maps detailing sections of The Four Abbeys Way, a popular walking route which passes through or close to each of the villages. The boxes are also used to exchange magazines, newspaper or books.
Community Councillor Sheila Campbell, who instigated and managed this project, said: “The phone boxes are part of our cultural heritage, one which many residents were keen to retain. They had been slowly deteriorating so we are delighted that this project has restored them to their former glory and enabled them to take on a new useful lease of life.
“They are now assets for the community with local residents able to determine their future. We are extremely grateful to our main funder the Peoples Post Code Trust without their help this project could not have been undertaken. We also appreciate the support of Scottish Borders Council and Historic Scotland for supplying maps and photographs for the information panels. The Kelso Branch of WH Smith generously donated magazines to kick start the swaps.”
John Lamont, MSP, officially launched the whole project at the Eckford Community Information Exchange (phone box) recently. The Crailing, Eckford and Nisbet Community Council were successful in adopting the axed BT telephone boxes and were awarded £1,897.25 by Peoples Postcode Trust a grant-giving charity, funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
People’s Postcode Lottery is Britain’s charity lottery. Players play with their postcodes to win cash prizes while raising money for good causes. As a charity lottery, £2 from every monthly lottery ticket charities and community initiatives across England, Scotland and Wales, including People’s Postcode Trust. People’s Postcode Lottery believes in supporting local communities so the money raised by players in each country, stays in that country.
Sheila added: “By highlighting local walking routes our intention is to improve health and well being by stimulating an interest in exploring the surrounding area for locals, their friends and relatives and visitors to each of the villages. I believe that this project will help to harness the energy of local people and further encourage them to seek creative successful solutions to local challenges. By doing things for ourselves we will continue to grow and develop our community spirit.”
John Lamont, MSP said: “I was delighted to be given the opportunity to launch this community project that has given these phones a new lease of life. Our red phone boxes are truly iconic and it was saddening to see so many in the area fall into disrepair, but the work by Crailing, Eckford and Nisbet Community Council has helped to transform them.
“Their fantastic efforts will now see these boxes put to good use in the community. By providing the opportunity to exchange unwanted items and pick up information packs on walking routes I have no doubt that the initiative will encourage residents and visitors alike to recycle and exercise more.
“I trust that these boxes will prove to help and develop the community spirit in Crailing, Eckford and Nisbet for years to come. I would encourage other areas in the Borders to consider similar renovation to their phone boxes.”
More information on the work of Crailing, Eckford & Nisbet Community Council can be found on http://onlineborders.org.uk/community/cennews.
Read more about the Scottish Borders.