Using SketchUp to transform derelict telephone box into community hub

Using SketchUp to transform derelict telephone box into community hub

SketchUp is deployed across a range of industries, among those is the voluntary sector. From museum events and exhibition planning, to modelling and building of creative spaces for community benefit, there are no limits to the usefulness and utility of SketchUp.  Cadsoft Solutions supplies a large number of non-profit subscriptions to small, medium and large well known non-profits and we are always pleased to hear about the work being done to help make our communities more inclusive, happier, engaged in the world around them. 

A few weeks ago we contacted a charity volunteer about a project involving the conversion of a derelict BT telephone box into a community resource and info-point for people made homeless and living on the streets of Deptford. The telephone box was converted by members of Lewisham’s We Care Food Bank and the phone box is billed as the world’s first 24/7 phone box community hub.

We spoke to Richard Lamb about his work on this conversion and the part SketchUp played in turning this once derelict utility in to something that now benefits and provides access to support and information for those who are vulnerable on the streets of South East London.

"I met Ray Woolford co-founder of the We Care Food Bank (Reg Charity. 1101616) in 2006. Since then I helped him start a solar power co-operative by doing rooftop surveys on public buildings, then stage lighting on the play he wrote, plus fixtures for his food bank

This year he asked me to fit shelves in an obsolete phone box, which he was converting into a homeless info point with leaflets & freebies. 


I used Sketchup to design the vandal proof frame from mechanical racking, then fabricated &  fitted it.  I woke one morning with a vision of how to ice the cake, with a psychedelic pattern on the shelves, which is creative for a pro engineer who doesn't smoke. 

I call it The Tardis, after the teleporting phone box in the classic Brit sci-fi TV series Doctor Who.

The opening ceremony was a flamboyant affair, with a drag queen singing 'Somewhere over the rainbow' to a media camera crew

An old free version of Sketchup allowed me to design a few such wonders for community projects, but now I have the full current version for a fraction of the price of the commercial version, which is great for my voluntary projects. 

I hope my story inspires other skilled people to unwind from the corporate grind & start designing & building a new economy that actually works.  Kudos to Sketchup for extending affordable love to the sector that actually makes a difference."

Find out more about the work of the We Care Community Food Bank in Lewisham here.

Further information can also be found in an article on the Big Issue.

SketchUp Studio for non-profits is available from our web store 

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