Call goes out for Warwickshire communities to adopt and transform old phone boxes - The Rugby Observer

Call goes out for Warwickshire communities to adopt and transform old phone boxes

Rugby Editorial 17th Mar, 2021   0

THE CALL has gone out for communities to adopt red phone boxes – with 39 up for grabs in Warwickshire.

BT is dialling up its Adopt a Kiosk scheme, whereby community groups can adopt a phone box for just £1 and transform them into mini-museums, art galleries, book exchanges or defibrillator units.

In Stratford, 28 phone boxes are available for adoption, with four in Rugby Borough, three in Warwick District, two in North Warwickshire, and two in Nuneaton and Bedworth.

More than 600 BT phone boxes have already been adopted by communities across the West Midlands – including in Church Lawford near Rugby, where the Parish Council turned their kiosk into a Book Exchange.




Church Lawford Parish Council chairman Jeremy James said the exchange was thriving, used by residents young and old.

He said: “We wanted to add the book exchange element as the mobile library only visits briefly once a month, and this aspect has really taken over.


“I have been pleased by the level of support it gets. Those people that use it appreciate it, and the only real maintenance needed is periodic tidying up of the book supply.

“At Christmas we installed lights on the green for the first time, powered from the phone box, and we also installed a sound system with carols and songs written about the village during the Covid lockdown.”

He said the Parish Council had taken inspiration from nearby Stretton under Fosse – where the community adopted their local phone box and turned it into an information booth with details on local history, walks and footpaths.

Jeremy added: “If another village were considering adopting their phone box, I would say it is very worthwhile.”

Sarah Walker, BT Enterprise unit director for the Midlands, said: “With most people now using mobile phones, it’s led to a huge drop in the number of calls made from payphones.

“We’re currently rationalising our payphone estate to make it fit for the future, and the ‘Adopt a Kiosk’ scheme makes it possible for local communities to retain their local phone box, with a refreshed purpose for the community.

“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.”

BT will also consider adoption requests to house defibrillators in modern glass phone boxes.

The Community Heartbeat Trust charity is working with BT and communities to install lifesaving defibrillators in kiosks.

Martin Fagan, National Secretary for the Community Heartbeat Trust, said: “BT’s phone box kiosks are iconic British structures, and repurposing for this life saving use has given them a new lease of life.

“Placing the equipment in the heart of a community is important to save on time. Kiosks are historically at the centre of the community, and thus great locations for defibrillators.”

Phone boxes can be adopted by recognised public bodies such as parish councils, community councils or town councils, registered charities, or individuals who have one on their own land.

BT will continue to provide electricity, if already in place, to power the light for adopted phone boxes, free of charge.

Visit www.bt.com/adopt for more information.

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