ET phone home, or borrow a book!

It’s not that long since if wanted to ring someone when you were out and about, it was a case of looking for the nearest telephone box.

This kiosk has been transformed into somewhere to swap books
This kiosk has been transformed into somewhere to swap books

There are some people who would suggest that hasn’t changed much in areas of the Lincolnshire Wolds.

In general, though, we now all reach for our mobile – signal permitting.

All this means iconic red phone boxes have become almost obsolete.

All change: A history box is just one of many options...

Some have just a handful of customers a year...a far cry from when we all used to queue at the only kiosk in town still working to call a taxi after a night out!

However, BT has revealed that more than 200 of its phone boxes across the East Midlands are up for grabs .

And, it is urging local communities to take advantage of a scheme to help transform them for the 21st century.

Since 2008, a total of 784 phone boxes across the region have been taken on by communities for just £1 each through BT’s Adopt a Kiosk programme.

Redundant phone boxes, once a lifeline of communication before the arrival of mobile networks, have been transformed into everything from defibrillator units and mini history museums to art galleries and book exchanges.

The local list includes the two kiosks in Horncastle Market Place along with phone boxes in Thimbleby, Tattershall and Old Bolingbroke.

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.”

l Communities can adopt a kiosk if they are a recognised public body, such as a parish council, community council or town council.

Boxes can also be adopted by registered charities or by individuals who have a payphone 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.

l Visit www.bt.com/adopt for details of the adopt a kiosk scheme and application forms.