Seeds and Strolling for Uganda

It’s now three years since we first found out that Ruddington’s last remaining public telephone box would be decommissioned – when BT Payphones announced its lack of use made it no longer viable to keep it in service.

The Grade II listed, traditional, red, cast iron kiosk in front of the War Memorial on Church Street {pictured top left} is a Type K6 designed in 1935 by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott. Because it’s an important heritage landmark, within our village Conservation Area, ideas were invited to put it to an alternative use through BT’s ‘Adopt a Kiosk’ scheme. This was an opportunity for individuals, companies or charities to apply to buy a particular ‘phone box in order to preserve it for future generations and turn it into something inspirational. For Ruddington, the successful bidders were The Mustard Seed Project, UgandaIt cost them £1!

Between then and now, the village-based charity has been pondering how to make best use of the kiosk for our community in line with its own ethos. Various ideas, including a ‘mini art gallery’, were discussed along the way. Project members eventually decided that it should become a ‘seed library’ for people to share leftover seeds and plants. Gareth Owen {pictured top right} volunteered to make the bespoke wooden seed boxes needed for the packets to be stored.

Now a special village event has been organised to officially ‘open’ it as such on Sunday October 9th from 9.45am. As well as the launch of the eco-friendly ‘phone box that day there’ll be a ‘Bring-your-own Family Picnic’, a ‘Bear Scavenger Hunt’ and a ‘Charity Walk’ – all rounded off with tea and cake available to purchase at Parker’s Yard, along Chapel Street. Everyone’s welcome.

The garden at Parker’s Yard within the Framework Knitters’ Museum site

Spokesperson Danielle Roberts reveals: “At the beginning of the walk we will unveil our amazing charity telephone box. We can’t give the surprise away, but the box will be transformed into something spectacular whilst launching the seed library! We hope that with this event will enable us to teach our children about sustainability which reflects our ethics that ‘A small seed can go a long way'”.

Max and Alex cleaning the kiosk ready for the launch

She says the Charity Walk, starting at 10.00am, will showcase some unfamiliar walking routes around the fields of Ruddington whilst, thanks to a £5 per person or £10 per family entry ‘fee’, will also raise funds for sustainable vegetable gardens at the school in Tisai and development projects they support in rural Uganda. “The Mustard Seed charity, like a seed, has grown from strength to strength. We have built a school consisting of six classrooms and a surgery on the island, provided three further water harvesters, and we have fed the children porridge, rice and beans each morning. Currently we sponsor six teachers to work at the school.”

Danielle adds that they have accomplished many other projects to support the people in Tisai: “With good links to our local infant and junior school, we also teach children how sustainable development can improve the lives of our own and different communities and to the whole planet, from the UK to Uganda! We’re sharing seeds, sustainability and kindness across the world!”

With ‘Ruddy Bear’ due to go on his travels to Uganda again very soon, please keep checking back here at for further Mustard Seed Project news, events and photos!

The garden at the school in Tisai, Uganda.

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