Teapot Project launches petition launched to turn Stoke Bridge red phone box into ‘kind box’

Stoke Bridge Telephone Box, Ipswich.

Stoke Bridge Telephone Box, Ipswich. - Credit: Gregg Brown

A campaign has been launched by the Teapot Project in Ipswich to save the Stoke Bridge telephone box and turn it into a hub providing for vulnerable people.

The Teapot Project's founder Mischa Pearson

The Teapot Project's founder Mischa Pearson

BT announced in 2012 that it would be selling off its iconic red phone boxes as more people used mobile phones, with the Stoke Bridge box one of those put up for sale.

The Teapot Project community interest company put in a bid to turn the space into a ‘kind box’ which would provide items such as books and blankets for members of the community to take, but the application was rejected as BT expressed fears of vandalism.

Teapot founder Mischa Pearson, 30, said: “We believe it to be a charming part of our history and with the hard work that has gone into the area from local developers and large investments it would be a huge shame to see a local landmark be wasted as a result of vandalism that can be rectified and a lack of vision to safeguard our historic little box.

“We see it as an opportunity to get things out there that might be invaluable to the local community – particularly the more vulnerable ones.”

The project has now launched a petition on www.change.org to gather community support, which the company aims to put to BT before the box is destroyed.

“We are happy to pay for it, and we can shelve it out,” Ms Pearson added.

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“There needs to be quite a bit of order to it, but if you show order and care then hopefully it won’t fall victim to vandalism.”

The Teapot plans to offer advertising on the panels for businesses based on the Waterfront and in the town centre to help cover the £1,500 cost of a revamp, as well as working alongside art students at the University of Suffolk to showcase their work.

Ms Pearson said: “We will go back to BT, get on board with businesses and artists and show the public what we can do with it.”

Other phone boxes across the country have been given new leases of life in dozens of different ways, including housing defibrillators, being turned into garden ornaments and a space to swap books.

The Teapot Project is currently overhauling its new premises in Upper Orwell Street, with the help of work from National Citizen Service volunteers, and uses edible food retailers are unable to sell to run a pay-what-you-feel cafe supporting homeless and vulnerable in Ipswich, all running on the thos of “feeding bellies not bins”.

To sign the petition visit www.change.org/o/the_teapot_project.

To donate food to the Teapot Project visit www.theteapotproject.com.