Turning iconic red telephone boxes into art spaces proves to be a good call thanks to £5k award win

Posted in: Foundation Last updated: 30 Jul 2015

Work on the Southampton art spaces can now begin thanks to Community award from OneFamily .

Southampton is about to get one of the UK’s most unusual art venues thanks to a team of volunteers who have won a £5k community award from OneFamily. 

The K6 Gallery will renovate a pair of old K6 telephone boxes (the iconic, red variety) located in the old town quarter of Southampton, and convert them into an exhibition space.  It will offer a genuine platform for local artists and creative people from within the community to exhibit their work, as well as the ability to curate exhibitions, including the work of the students at Southampton Solent Art Studios, which is located nearby.

“As a regeneration project run by local volunteers, this will be a truly quirky arts venue in Southampton,” said project leader, Alex Batten. “Restoring these telephone boxes will demonstrably improve the local environment and engage local residents, including those in nearby sheltered and social housing, through a greater sense of place and well-being.

"This is going to be really great for Southampton. Everyone is absolutely delighted with the award.”

“And of course it’s a terrific way to get local residents involved in art in general,” he added. “We’re so thankful for our award and would like to express our sincere gratitude to both OneFamily and all of those who voted, because now we know we can cover all our costs, not just the renovation but also insurance, hosting and installing exhibitions and all the necessary marketing materials.  This is going to be really great for Southampton. Everyone is absolutely delighted with the award.”

Kim Batten, Alex’s father nominated the project for funding from the OneFamily Foundation. Although only OneFamily customers can nominate a community project for funding, members of the public are encouraged to show their support via an online vote, with winning projects being those that secure the most votes.

OneFamily is a mutual organisation providing investments, savings, health and life insurance products to help families work together to meet the financial demands of modern life.  As a customer owned business it is run for the benefit of its customers.  The OneFamily Foundation redistributes a portion of the organisation’s profits, and aspires to make £5 million available to customers over the next five years to help them, their families and their local communities. The Foundation has also helped hundreds of customers with personal grants since its launch in 2014, and its funding pot is made possible due to the financial stability of the customer-owned organisation.

Anna Drabble, Head of Community at OneFamily said “This is a really unusual project with ambition and creativity and we’re absolutely delighted that people in Southampton will benefit.  The power of art to engage and generally improve life  is well understood..  The OneFamily Foundation exists to benefit its customers and their communities, and this is a perfect example of our work in action.”

To find out more about the OneFamily Foundation please visit www.foundation.onefamily.com


Editors notes:

The OneFamily Foundation (formerly the Engage Foundation) was set up to benefit our customers, their families and the communities in which they live and work. There are two ways customers can benefit; personal grants or community awards.  A number of personal grants of up to £500 are available every month to help them, or someone close to them in times or hardship, or simply to make things a little better. Community awards are open for nominations in Spring and Autumn, with awards of up to £5,000 and £25,000 available to help fund projects in their local community.