IN CELEBRATION of the iconic red phone box turning 100 years of age, BT has revealed that five of its kiosks are up for grabs in Worcestershire.
The broadband and telecommunications company is urging communities to take advantage of its kiosk adoption scheme and help transform a red phone boxes into a community asset.
The Worcestershire kiosks – two in Worcester, two in Wychavon and one in the Malvern Hills – are available to be taken on by registered charities, community councils and local authorities.
Around 7,200 redundant phone boxes have already been adopted across the UK and turned into a range of facilities over the years, from defibrillator units and libraries, to mini art galleries and local museums.
Architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott designed the first incarnation of the famous red phone box for a competition in 1924 and there are now only 3,000 working examples remaining across the UK.
BT is continuing to review its estate of payphones, removing those that are no longer being used, in line with rules set out by Ofcom.
Ofcom revised its guidance last year on payphone removals, reflecting improvements made in mobile coverage and the number of calls made from payphones annually.
Michael Smy, head of street at BT, said: “With the vast majority of people now using mobile phones, and significant improvements to mobile coverage across the UK, we’ve continued to see a big drop in the number of calls made from payphones.
“With the iconic red kiosk about to turn 100, it’s a great opportunity to remind communities to take the opportunity to retain their local kiosk for just £1.
“We’ve already seen some great kiosk conversions across the UK that have become valuable community assets.”
An example of an organisation making the most of the adoption scheme is The Community Heartbeat Trust, a charity which provides defibrillators.
They have been working with BT to adopt kiosks since 2009 and have helped install more than 700 defibrillator stations in phone boxes across the UK.
The defibrillators installed by the charity have been used on several occasions to save lives across the UK.
Martin Fagan, national secretary of the charity said: “The scheme has given us a great opportunity.
“To install defibrillators in disused phone boxes is ideal, as they’re often in the centre of villages and towns and it means the iconic red phone box can remain a lifeline and focus for the community.
“The take-up has been fantastic, and we hope more communities will look to adopt the remaining kiosks.”
Visit: http://www.bt.com/adopt to adopt a kiosk.