Some years ago, Minera Community Council received a sum of money in trust from the New Brighton Community Fund, together with custodial ownership of the old red telephone box at the centre of the village. The money has been earmarked ever since for the restoration of the phone box so that it could be brought back into use as a community asset.
Getting the box renovated has proved to be very difficult, with a number of contractors engaged over the years to provide quotations and estimates, without anything coming to fruition. the fundamental problem was that, while such phone boxes are very sought after, there are very few contractors set up to perform restoration work at affordable rates, and none of them are based anywhere near New Brighton.
We have, however, finally found a contractor who was interested in taking the old box in part exchange for a refurbished one. Our old box will in turn be refurbished and will be installed somewhere else in the country, displacing another run-down box for renovation and thereby keeping the cycle of renewal and revival going.
Our box was changed out for a new one today, 7 September, and the transformation is very eye-catching, and has improved this small corner of New Brighton at a stroke. We now plan to put the box to work as a community resource, and will be first of all exploring its potential to house a defibrillator. As well as getting the box replaced, we also learned this week that we have been awarded a second free defibrillator from Welsh Government, following the first such award which led to the installation of the Gwynfryn defibrillator in the Spring of this year. So long as the cabinet for the device can be accommodated in the phone box, we propose to install it here and bring a vital piece of potentially life-saving equipment to one of the remoter communities of the Minera ward. There will be further updates about this, and other ideas about how we might get best use out of the phone box, in the coming weeks.
Here are before and after photographs to show just what a big improvement the new box has made.