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Lancashire Times
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10:59 AM 15th May 2020

Communities Turn Iconic Red Phone Boxes ‘Blue’ To Thank The NHS

From a village food larder to commemorating the NHS
BT offers communities the chance to adopt their local phone box for just £1 and turn it into something inspirational for their local area
369 traditional red phone boxes available for adoption in Yorkshire and The Humber
33 red kiosks available for adoption in Lancashire

This phone box houses a defibrillatorThis phone box houses a defibrillator
This phone box has been lit up in blue to thank the NHSThis phone box has been lit up in blue to thank the NHS
Windsor Foodshare use this phone box for donationsWindsor Foodshare use this phone box for donations


BT is encouraging community groups across Lancashire and Yorkshire and The Humber to seize the opportunity to do something wonderful with their iconic red phone boxes during the coronavirus pandemic.

Communities across the country have been thinking innovatively to transform red phone boxes for good, from community food stores to illuminating the red kiosks blue as a tribute to the NHS. Already, more than 6,000 phone boxes have been adopted by communities since BT set up its ‘Adopt a Kiosk’ scheme in 2008.

BT is encouraging community groups to seize the opportunity to do something wonderful with phone boxes that have little or no usage. More than 360 traditional red boxes are currently available for adoption in Yorkshire and The Humber, with 33 available in Lancashire, for just £1 each. BT will also consider adoption requests to house defibrillators in more modern boxes.

The company has seen some amazing transformations across the country during the coronavirus pandemic. For example, the Driven Forward Charity in Windsor, has turned a phone box into a donation point for items for the local foodbank during the coronavirus pandemic. Donors can drop off non-perishable food goods through the removed panel. Once a week volunteers then pick the items up and deliver them to Windsor Foodshare.

Tiia Stephens, Driven Forward Charity, said:
“We saw that the local Windsor Foodbank put out a plea on social media, as they were struggling with an increased number of families and adults to support, with donations reduced. We recently adopted a BT phone box with the intention to use it as a drop off point for donations for the homeless that our charity supports locally. We thought this would be a great opportunity to support another local charity in need during these tough times, so we turned the phone box into a place for much needed donations for the Windsor Food bank.”

BT will continue to provide electricity (if already in place) to power the light for adopted phone boxes, free of charge. Where electricity is available, adopted boxes can be used as housings for defibrillators – an increasingly popular and potentially life-saving conversion.

In Crich, near Matlock in Derbyshire, the local community adopted their local phone box to house a defibrillator.

Recently, the window of the phone box has been transformed to commemorate the NHS with a stunning stained-glass window. Mrs Richmond, who came up with the idea, also worked as a nurse for 21 years, and said the NHS panel had been particularly meaningful.

A phone Box in Upton, near Peterborough, has also been lit up in blue to pay tribute to the NHS.

Sam Burton, Upton Community Council, commented:
“We recently adopted a BT red phone box and have been working with the Community Heartbeat Trust to get a defibrillator installed for our local community. I came up with the idea to light up the phone box in blue for the NHS after seeing local people lighting up their houses. The blue lit phone box is a tribute of thanks to the NHS from our village.”

BT will continue to provide electricity (if already in place) to power the light for adopted phone boxes, free of charge. Where electricity is available, adopted boxes can be used as housings for defibrillators – an increasingly popular and potentially life-saving conversion.

Sarah Walker, BT Enterprise unit director for the North of England, said:
“We’ve seen some amazing transformations of our phone boxes by communities who’ve adopted our iconic red payphones during the coronavirus pandemic.

“With more than 6,250 payphones already adopted across the UK, the scheme has proved to be really popular and there are still plenty of kiosks available in Lancashire and Yorkshire and The Humber should communities want to preserve them. The opportunities for communities are endless and we’re pleased to be giving even more local communities the chance to get involved. Applying is quick and easy and we’re always happy to speak to communities about adopting our traditional BT red phone boxes.”

Around 3,000 traditional red phone boxes are available for adoption across England. 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.

Most people now have a mobile phone and calls made from public telephones have fallen by around 90 per cent in the past decade.

For further details on how to apply to Adopt a Kiosk, simply go to www.bt.com/adopt where application forms and information can be found.