BT puts 23 iconic red phone boxes up for community adoption in Derbyshire Dales

BT is inviting Derbyshire Dales residents to adopt 23 iconic red phone boxes and transform them into community facilities for the 21st century.

Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 8:36 pm

The company has put more than 200 boxes up for grabs across the East Midlands, with more in the Dales than any other district.

Regional enterprise director Sarah Walker said: “With most people now using mobile phones, and significantly improved rural coverage in recent years, there has been a huge drop in the number of calls made from payphones.

“We’re currently rationalising our payphone estate, and the ‘adopt a kiosk’ scheme makes it possible for communities to retain their local phone box with a refreshed purpose.”

Some communities have turned their phone box into a book exchange.

Since 2008, 784 phone boxes across the region have been taken on by communities for just £1 each through the adoption programme.

Redundant phone boxes, once a lifeline of communication, have been transformed into everything from defibrillator stations and mini history museums, to art galleries and book exchanges.

Sarah said: “Thousands of communities have already come up with a fantastic array of ideas to re-use their beloved local phone box.

“Applying is quick and easy and we’re always happy to speak to communities about adopting our phone boxes.”

Other boxes have been used to house defibrillators.

Adopters are typically recognised public bodies, such as a parish, community or town councils, but charities are also eligible along with individuals who have a payphone on their own land.

BT will continue to provide free electricity to power the light for adopted boxes.

The scheme has proved particularly popular with communities wanting to make potentially life-saving defibrillators more quickly accessible in case of emergency.

The Community Heartbeat Trust has worked with BT and local adopters to install the devices in kiosks in 8— locations from Aberdeen to Plymouth.

Martin Fagan, the charity’s national secretary, said: “BT’s phone box kiosks are iconic British structures, and this has given them a new lease of life.

“Kiosks are historically in the heart of their community, and thus great locations for defibrillators.”

For more information on how to apply, go to www.bt.com/adopt.

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