Winning red telephone box community schemes include a library, poetry booth and information point

The information point created by Sutton and Barlavington Parish Council
The information point created by Sutton and Barlavington Parish Council

A library, poetry booth and information point are the winners of the K6 Phone Box Competition 2019, recognising innovative community uses of red telephone boxes.

The competition is run in association with Sussex Heritage Trust and the award ceremony was hosted by the West Sussex Association of Local Councils (WSALC) Board.

Parham Parish Council's entry Greatham Poetry Booth

Parham Parish Council's entry Greatham Poetry Booth

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Dr John Godfrey, trust chairman, said: “The Sussex Heritage Trust is delighted that our campaign with the Sussex Association of Local Councils is resulting in more and more local communities across Sussex getting involved with the safeguarding of these iconic red telephone boxes.

“The judges were very impressed with this year’s three winning projects. Many congratulations to Ansty and Staplefield, Parham and Sutton and Barlavington parish councils.”

Winner Ansty and Staplefield Parish Council was awarded a £500 voucher for its imaginative entry, Brook Street Library. This adaptation not only accommodates shelves of books but two folding seats, too.

Brook Street Library, Ansty and Staplefield Parish Council's winning entry, has shelves of books and two folding seats

Brook Street Library, Ansty and Staplefield Parish Council's winning entry, has shelves of books and two folding seats

Liz Bennett, council clerk, said: “Brook Street is a very small hamlet in our parish with few facilities. The Brook Street Apple Society residents association approached the parish council to ask if the phone box could be converted into a toy and book library.

“The residents came up with a plan to convert the phone box that includes weather proof shelving, a box for the toys and an ingenious idea for two pull out folding chairs.

“The parish council funded the scheme, which has been widely admired and appreciated by the residents and a neighbouring council is now considering doing something similar.

“It is a good example of the parish council and residnets working together to support a small community.”

Sutton and Barlavington Parish Council's information point is aimed at walkers and cyclists using the South Downs Way

Sutton and Barlavington Parish Council's information point is aimed at walkers and cyclists using the South Downs Way

Parham Parish Council was second and won a £300 voucher for its Greatham Poetry Booth, echoing the literary legacy for which the area is renowned.

Claudia Fisher, a Parham parish councillor, moved into a cottage opposite the red telephone box a few years ago and as it had been abandoned, she determined to restore it.

She said: “I consulted with neighbours, who backed me wholeheartedly. It was a lot of hard work. My idea was to convert the phone box into a poetry booh, with a theme of the local environment as inspiration.

“I wanted to harness and encourage creativity. It is a simple and, I think, elegant idea. Local residents and visitors have contributed equally.”

In third place was Sutton and Barlavington Parish Council, which won a £100 voucher for its well stocked and conveniently sited information point, aimed at walkers and cyclists who drop down from the South Downs Way and into this very small community.

Chichester architect and artist Neil Holland, named Sussex Heritage Person of the Year 2018 last July, represented the trust at the presentation in Billingshurst.

Neil commended the winners for their imagination and measures to preserve an iconic feature of our countryside.

Michael Chater, WSALC president, presented the awards and hoped their success would encourage many more entries for this year’s competition.