THREE obsolete red telephone boxes in Roxburghshire have been converted into information exchanges for residents and visitors.
Local John Lamont MSP, who officially launched the project at Eckford on Friday morning, praised the community council representing Crailing, Eckford and Nisbet, which won £1,897 from the People’s Postcode Trust to revive the boxes after they were axed by BT three years ago.
Retaining their original colour, the boxes have been refurbished as hubs for residents to exchange magazines, newspaper or books. Leaflets on ways to protect the environment will be regularly updated and a “sales and swaps” notice board will assist waste reduction by encouraging locals to selling or gift unwanted items. The exchanges have solar power, and will be accessible 24 hours a day.
Literature on the area and information panels with maps detailing sections of the popular nearby walking route, the Four Abbeys Way, provide visitors with historical facts as well as a visual orientation point of reference.
“I’m delighted to be given the opportunity to launch this community project that has given these phones a new lease of life,” said Mr Lamont. “Our red phone boxes are truly iconic and it was sad to see so many in the area fall into disrepair.
“The fantastic efforts of Crailing, Eckford and Nisbet community council will now see the boxes put to good use.
“I would encourage other areas in the Borders to consider similar renovation to their phone boxes.”
Community councillor Sheila Campbell, who instigated and managed the project, said: “The phone boxes are part of our cultural heritage 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. 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.
“By highlighting local walking routes, our intention is to improve health and wellbeing by stimulating an interest in exploring the surrounding area for locals, their friends and relatives and visitors to each of the villages.”