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Disused phone boxes given new lease of life by teenage mental health charity stem4

For those of a certain age, the iconic red phone box takes us back to the days when mobiles were just a distant dream.

Phone boxes were introduced in the UK 1921, and the more familiar design came into being in 1926, conceptualised by architect Giles Gilbert Scott. There have been many more versions of phone boxes (or kiosks) over the decades, but they have always included some form of bright red colouring.

Their popularity declined with the rise of the mobile phone, and while some are still used for their original purpose, many phone boxes have been repurposed by their local communities for a variety of uses, such as libraries, mini exhibitions or to house defibrillators.

Now, two defunct phone boxes in the heart of Wimbledon are being used by charity stem4 to support young people’s mental health, and Diespeker is proud to be one of the sponsors of the initiative. Part of stem4’s offering is a suite of apps developed to guide and support teens who are struggling with various mental health issues, so it feels like a full circle moment to be incorporating the old with the new.

Having started the ‘adoption’ process two years’ ago, stem4 is now filling the phone boxes with resources as well as signposts to further help. As they are located near to local schools, they will provide easily accessed support for young people. In addition, stem4 is planning to host community events centred round the boxes and offer free wellbeing health checks for young people.

Dr Nihara Krause, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and stem4 CEO and Founder said: “stem4 are thrilled to be able to continue to provide another opportunity for establishing strong community connections to enhance and support the mental health of children and young people.

“Our connections are the strongest resilience factors, providing not only mental health and wellbeing protection but have also been linked with positive physical health benefits. We are looking forward to hosting events throughout the year to engage young people in enhancing their wellbeing and providing opportunity for starting meaningful conversations with the adults in their lives.”

The restored phone boxes were officially opened by the Mayor of Merton, Gill Manly, on World Mental Health Day 2023. Diespeker MD John Krause attended the event.

stem4 promotes positive mental health in teenagers and those who support them including their families and carers, education professionals, as well as school nurses and GPs through the provision of mental health education, resilience strategies and early intervention.

To make a donation to stem4 and help them to continue their amazing work, please follow this link:

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