A DISUSED phonebox in the heart of Pencaitland has been brought back to life by volunteers.

The phonebox, at the junction of the village’s Main Street and Lempockwells Road, has become an informal swap shop over the last few years.

The former BT phonebox has now been refurbished and repainted and new shelving added by a team of local volunteers led by carpenter and artisan Adrian Hickey.

Ralph Averbuch, Pencaitland Community Council chairman, said: “We had been using the phonebox as an informal swap shop for years and thought it may be up for the chop when BT made another round of cuts of public phoneboxes.

“Pencaitland’s was not on the list but we quickly learned that BT wanted all the books gone.

“It forced our hand so we decided we could not wait any longer and the community council made the decision to adopt the phonebox for the community’s benefit.”

More than 100 people have joined the Friends of Pencaitland Phonebox Facebook group and a dozen volunteers opted to help Mr Hickey revamp the phonebox, which had its old phone equipment removed to make way for specially designed shelving.

Volunteers painted a mural on the back of the phonebox which reads: “Let’s look after each other”.

Ralph said there had been a great community effort from all involved to recognise the future of the phonebox.

He added: “It not only looks a million times better than when we adopted it, we have also added in an art display to the back of the phonebox.

“We now have a regular team of volunteers who will be taking it in turn to check on it each week and make it a real asset to community life.”