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BT offers communities in England the chance to ‘adopt’ their local phone box for just £1

Press release   •   May 02, 2019 09:19 BST

Many former BT red telephone boxes have been transformed into kiosks housing defibrillators thanks to the scheme

BT is offering communities across England the opportunity to adopt their local phone box for just £1 to turn them into something inspirational for their local area.

More than 3,600 traditional red boxes are available for adoption across England and BT will also consider adoption requests to house defibrillators in more modern boxes. BT is encouraging community groups to seize the opportunity to do something wonderful with phone boxes that have little or no usage. Already, more than 5,800 payphones have been adopted by communities since 2008.

BT will continue to provide electricity (if already in place) to power the light for adopted kiosks, free of charge to communities. Where electricity is available, adopted boxes can be used as housings for defibrillators – an increasingly popular and potentially life-saving conversion. Other exciting new ventures include conversions to mini-libraries, miniature art museums, cake shops and information centres. One payphone in Devon was even turned into the “world’s smallest nightclub.”

Commenting on the launch, Katherine Bradley, BT’s Senior Payphones Commercial and Operations Manager, said: “We’re pleased to be giving even more local communities the chance to adopt a phone box. With more than 5,800 payphones now adopted across the UK, this is a fantastic opportunity for communities to own a piece of history.

“The opportunities are endless and we’ve already seen some amazing transformations. Applying is easy and quick and we’re always happy to speak to communities about adopting our traditional BT red payphone boxes.”

Communities can adopt a kiosk if they are a recognised public body, such as a parish council, community council town council or parish meeting. Boxes can also be adopted by registered charities or by individuals who have a payphone on their own land.

Most people now have a mobile phone and calls made from our public telephones have fallen by around 90 per cent in the past decade. BT is also replacing more than 1,000 payphones in major cities across the UK, with new digital hubs called InLinks as part of a joint venture with InLinkUK. Each InLink provides ultrafast, free public Wi-Fi, phone calls, device charging and a tablet for access to city services, maps and directions.

For further details on how to apply to Adopt a Kiosk, simply go to www.bt.com/adopt where application forms and information can be found.

Case study

Two former traditional red phone boxes purchased by Appleton Parish Council in Warrington, Cheshire, for £1 each through BT’s Adopt a Kiosk scheme have now been converted into a great community asset.

The Parish Council secured the boxes in 2017 and has now successfully refurbished them. The one kiosk has been turned into a Book Swap where residents, including school children, can take and deposit books; while the other houses a defibrillator.

Joanne Monks, clerk of Appleton Parish Council, said: “We secured two former red phone boxes through BT’s Adopt a Kiosk scheme for £1 each and we have turned them into a great community asset.

“The residents think it’s fantastic and the Book Swap is really popular with people of all ages. We have approx. 50 plus books stacked neatly within the former telephone box that people can take away, read, enjoy and then exchange for another one.

“We actually secured the defibrillator for free thanks to the British Heart Foundation and it’s an important facility. With something as serious as a cardiac arrest, time is of the essence and this one is situated in a place that’s easily accessible and could potentially help save someone’s life.

“I would encourage other communities to take advantage of the scheme and preserve a bit of heritage for their area while providing a valuable community asset.”

Residents using the Book Swap are asked to make a donation at the Parish Hall to help the project’s running costs. Appleton Parish Council also hopes that the box housing the defibrillator can be a recognised stop on any planned heritage trail of the area.

ENDS

Region No of red boxes available for adoption
South West 970
Scotland 741
London 555
South East 497
Yorkshire and The Humber 433
Wales 419
East of England 368
West Midlands 282
East Midlands 273
North West 267
North East 38
Total 4,843

Notes to Editors

Private individuals cannot purchase kiosks unless they own the land where the kiosk is currently placed.

Here’s a list of eligible bodies from our website: 

  • Recognised local authority (e.g. District/Borough Council)
  • Parish/Community/Town Council or equivalent
  • Registered charity
  • Private land owner. (Anyone who has one of our telephone boxes on their land)
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