A growing number of rural retailers and their communities are 'thinking inside the box' by selling groceries from within disused BT phone boxes.

The New Forest village of Emery Down has become the latest to sign up to BT's 'Adopt a Kiosk' scheme, transforming its redundant red phone box into a 'community kiosk' earlier this month.

Removal of the telephone equipment made space for shelving, which now holds an array of essential grocery items delivered daily by the owners of the nearby village store. Locals leave money in an honesty box.

A spokesman for BT said the concept was helping to bring a growing number of local communities together. "There have been some fantastic projects including phone boxes being turned into grocery shops, and the Community Heartbeat Trust charity has even installed defibrillators in some," he said.

Independent retailer Anita Cooke, of Cookes in Skipton, North Yorkshire, has been running a successful community grocery kiosk in the village of Draughton for the past year.

"The post office in Draughton closed in 2008, leaving the villagers many of whom are elderly without a store in walking distance. It was a huge problem," Anita told C-Store. "As a result we signed up to the Adopt a Kiosk scheme and leave daily deliveries of essential items such as milk, tea, fruit and newspapers in the box. We've never had a thing stolen and people always leave the correct change, or post it to us if they don't have it. The box has done wonders for bringing the community together, plus we make a little money from it, which always helps!"

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