BT dials up 'Adopt a Kiosk' scheme
BT has revealed that nearly 600 of its iconic red phone boxes across Scotland are up for grabs, including 61 in the Western Isles – as it urges local communities to take advantage of a scheme to help transform them for the 21st Century.
Since 2008, a total of 482 phone boxes across the country 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 phone networks, have been transformed into everything from defibrillator units and mini history museums to art galleries and book exchanges.
BT will also consider adoption requests to house defibrillators in modern glass phone boxes, a potentially life-saving conversion.
Alan Lees, BT Enterprise unit director for Scotland, 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.
"The Adopt a Kiosk scheme makes it possible for local communities across Scotland 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.”
One community organisation that adopted a kiosk last year was the Westray Development Trust in Orkney.
The Trust converted the red phone box into a home for one of the island’s six public access defibrillators after community first aiders highlighted that there was limited access to this life-saving equipment on the island.
Isobel Thompson, Trust operations manager, said: "The red telephone box on the Westside of Westray was an ideal location to install a public access defibrillator.
"Thanks to BT's Adopt a Kiosk scheme we were able to expand our defibrillator network and improve access to life-saving equipment for our isolated island community."