15 Minutes… Adopt a Phone Box – Contribute to Your Community

Jan 26, 2024 | Featured Articles, Interviews



15 Minutes… Adopt a Phone Box – Contribute to Your Community

Jan 26, 2024 | Featured Articles, Interviews

With the vast majority of us now having mobile phones in our pockets day-to-day, the need for the public phone box – in its original form – has long since died out. However, their position in central locations, their small footprint, and protection from the elements means that they’re ideal for a number of different uses. Rather than rip them down or leave them to rot, today thousands of towns, villages, local councils and community groups are repurposing these iconic pieces of history and cultural significance, as part of BT’s ‘Adopt a Kiosk’ scheme.

For just £1, you too can join more than 6,000 communities who have purchased their local red phone box to bring more value and enjoyment to local people.

A number of councils, charities and community groups in Devon have already taken advantage of the scheme.

In Topsham, the local museum purchased the town’s phone box outside of St. Margaret’s Church, and turned it into an extension of their museum, providing ever changing displays that can be accessed and enjoyed out of museum hours.

Rachel Nichols, president of the museum and volunteer said: “A special team undertook the task of renovating the box, repairing the door, replacing the corroded window frames and painting it inside and out.”

Chudleigh Knighton have done similar, with their phone box museum showcasing old photographs of village scenes and history, offering a better understanding of how the village came to be over the years.

We’re seeing more and more uses too, from homes for life-saving defibrillators, community food banks and even as photobooths! 

In Brixham, the Town Council have turned their telephone box into what they’ve name their ‘Telebug Hotel’ – a miniature wildlife haven using pine cones, barn and other natural materials with pollinator-friendly planters attached to the outside.

The possibilities are endless. Kingsbridge Town Council took an imaginative approach by creating the ‘world’s smallest nightclub’ in celebration of adopting the 5,000th phone box of the scheme so far, and is hoping to make that official with a Guinness World Record! Complete with glitter ball, flashing lights and a dial-a-disc jukebox, it’s certainly an outside of the box community addition.

Who can adopt a phone box?
Recognised local authorities, parish and town councils, and registered charities are all invited to adopt their local phone box. Private individuals aren’t able to purchase and adopt a phone box unless they own the land it’s situated on.

If you’re interested in adopting yours and bringing more value to your community, simply e-mail BT with the location of the phone box and your plans for using it. Your request will be reviewed, contracts will be drawn up and once you’ve agreed and paid your £1, the phone box is yours.

Find out more by e-mailing payphones@bt.com or visiting www.business.bt.com/public-sector/street-hubs/adopt-a-kiosk-scheme 

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