Buy a BT red phone box for £1 as dozens across Kent are available to adopt

Communities wanting to transform their iconic red phone boxes are being urged to take up the opportunity after BT confirmed 375 are still up for grabs across the region.

Since 2008, some 895 phone boxes across the South East have been taken on by communities for just £1 each through BT’s Adopt a Kiosk programme.

The classic red phone box - transformed into life-saving site
The classic red phone box - transformed into life-saving site

And the redundant boxes have been transformed into everything from defibrillator units to libraries.

There remain dozens of boxes in Kent for adoption. They include 21 in Canterbury, 13 in Dover, 11 in Gravesham and nine in Sevenoaks. Boxes are also still available in Ashford (9), Medway (4), Folkestone and Hythe (8), Thanet (5), Tunbridge Wells (5), Maidstone (6), Tonbridge (2), Swale (6) and Dartford (1).

Jon Pollock, BT Enterprise unit director for the South of England, 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 South East 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.”

Many have been turned into mini libraries
Many have been turned into mini libraries

The Community Heartbeat Trust charity is working with BT and local communities to install lifesaving defibrillators in local kiosks.

Martin Fagan, national secretary for the charity, said: “BT’s phone box kiosks are iconic British structures, and repurposing for this life saving use has given them a new lease of life. To date, we have converted about 800 ourselves, with another 200 in the pipeline.

“Placing the equipment in the heart of a community is important to save on time. Kiosks are historically at the centre of the community, and thus great locations for defibrillators.”

As part of plans to modernise its payphone estate, over 400 payphones have also been upgraded to digital units, called Street Hubs, offering free ultrafast public WiFi, free UK phone calls, USB device charging and environmental monitoring.

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