Community organisations in Aberdeenshire invited to adopt a red phone box

Communities in Aberdeenshire are being encouraged to snap up iconic red phone boxes in the area – and take advantage of a scheme to help transform them for the 21st century.

Friday, 19th March 2021, 6:20 am
Iconic red phone boxes have been put to many uses, including housing life-saving defibrillators.

BT currently has 18 phone boxes up for grabs in the Aberdeenshire area, in places such as Pennan and New Deer, as well as many further south in Ballater, Banchory and Stonehaven.

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.

Phone boxes are ideal for defibrillators due to their central locations.

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, and the ‘Adopt a Kiosk’ scheme makes it possible for local communities 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 is one such charity that has been working with BT and local communities to install lifesaving defibrillators in local kiosks.

Martin Fagan, the charity’s national secretary, 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.

“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.”

For details on how to apply to Adopt a Kiosk, go to www.bt.com/adopt.