How your village’s old phone box could be a real life-saver

BT has made more than 200 of their red phone boxes up for grabs this month, including ten in Louth and the surrounding villages.

This phone box, in Welton le Wold, was adopted by the local community in September 2018 and is now home to a public defibrillator.

The company is urging local communities to take advantage of a scheme to help transform them for the 21st century, with hundreds of redundant phone boxes in our region having already been transformed in recent years.

These iconic phone boxes – which once offered a lifeline of communication before the arrival of mobile phones – have been transformed into everything from defibrillator units and miniature history museums, to art galleries and book exchanges.

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. At the same time, mobile coverage has improved significantly in recent years due to investment in masts, particularly in rural areas.

“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 in the East Midlands 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.”

The Community Heartbeat Trust charity has worked with BT and communities to install lifesaving defibrillators in local kiosks, with hundreds of them having already been converted for this purpose.

Elsewhere, more than 400 payphones across towns and cities have also been upgraded by BT to digital units, called ‘Street Hubs’, offering free ultrafast public WiFi, free UK phone calls, USB device charging, environmental monitoring and more.

BT’s Street Hubs have also played a vital role in sharing public information. For example, during the Covid-19 pandemic, Street Hub units across the country have been displaying key advice from Public Health England and local councils.

Local communities can adopt a kiosk if they are a recognised public body, such as a parish 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 this is already in place) to power the light for adopted phone boxes, free of charge

l Visit www.bt.com/adopt, for application forms and further information.

The following PHONE BOXES are AVAILABLE FOR ADOPTION in Louth and surrounding villages:

• Rosemary Lane, Louth

• Eastgate, Louth

• Rosemary Lane, Louth

• Market Place, Binbrook

• Grange Lane, Utterby

• The Square, North Thoresby

• Church Lane, Waithe

• West Lane, Skidbrooke

• Brinkhill, near Alford

• Near Methodist Chapel, Town Street, South Somercotes