With the support of the Cranleigh Parish Council, Cranleigh in Bloom were able to adopt the disused Telephone Box on the Ewhurst Road.
Cranleigh in Bloom were inspired by other Telephone Boxes across the country that had been turned into little libraries or book exchanges and decided that this box would lend itself perfectly to the idea.
After an initial clean of the box by volunteers, work finally began last year on restoring the Telephone Box to its original glory. Mother and Daughter team Andrea and Emma spent time during the autumn sanding down and repainting the telephone box before the bad weather set in and further lockdown restrictions delayed the refurbishment.
Andrea then worked tirelessly throughout March & April to finish the box and build the bookshelves, safely securing them inside.
At the end of April Andrea and Emma completed the finishing touches to the Telephone Box, decorating the inside, planting the area surrounding it and filling the shelves with donations of second hand and pre-loved books.
The creation of the book exchange was the ideal way to transform the unused payphone kiosk and preserve it’s heritage. The BT scheme to allow community groups to adopt disused telephone boxes means that once again they can become an asset that local people can enjoy.
The book exchange provides the perfect opportunity for all members of the community to be involved. Visitors are encouraged to swap a much loved book for another, almost the same way that you might swap a book with a friend. It encourages recycling of reading material that would otherwise sit on a shelf collecting dust but this way can be enjoyed by other readers. We hope to encourage a love of reading and literature.
We have already had many volunteers offering to water the plants, tidy the books and spread the word about the Telephone Box. One of our young stewards, Matilda came up with a fabulous idea to provide book review slips which are now available to recommend your next read. Samuel age 9 has been designing a collection of book marks that you will be able to choose from when selecting your book!
The shelves are organised with paperbacks, reference books and children’s books on the lower shelves. There is space to place your donations on the top shelf. Unfortunately there is not space to collect large bags or boxes of donations as it’s important to keep the floor of the telephone box clear for everyone’s safety.
You can find out more info about the project by visiting: Cranleigh Telephone Box Book Exchange on Facebook or searching for @CranleighPhoneBoxBookExchange on Instagram.