90 red phone boxes up for grabs in 'Adopt a Kiosk' scheme

A book exchange at a phone box

A book exchange is one popular re-use for old phone boxes - Credit: BT

BT has revealed that 90 of its iconic red phone boxes across Norfolk and Waveney are up for grabs – as it urges local communities to take advantage of a scheme to help transform them for the 21st century.

Since 2008, a total of 907 phone boxes across the East of England have been taken on by communities for just £1 each through BT’s Adopt a Kiosk programme.

Jo Billham, Keith Morris and Andrew Moore with the Swap Box in Wreningham. Picture: Courtesy of Keit

Jo Billham, Keith Morris and Andrew Moore with the Swap Box in Wreningham. Picture: Courtesy of Keith Morris - Credit: Courtesy of Keith Morris

Redundant phone boxes, once a lifeline of communication before the arrival of mobile phone networks, have been transformed into everything from community larders to art galleries and swap shops.

BT will also consider adoption requests to house defibrillators in modern glass phone boxes, a potentially life-saving conversion.

BT defibrillator phone booth

BT will also consider requests to adopt more modern glass boxes into defibrillator storage units - Credit: BT

Jon Pollock, BT Enterprise unit director for the East 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.


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“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 East of England to retain their local phone box, with a refreshed purpose for the community.”

Plenty of creative east Anglians have already found brilliant uses for the world-famous boxes.

During the first lockdown, a kiosk opposite St Andrew’s Church in Blickling was re-purposed into a community larder, while Poringland Parish Council set out plans to use one as defibrillator storage.

Aylsham Parish Church and Blickling Estate National Trust turned the phone box, opposite Blickling C

Aylsham Parish Church and Blickling Estate National Trust turned the phone box, opposite Blickling Church, into a pantry to help those who might need it during the Covid-19 outbreak. Picture: Aylsham Parish Church - Credit: Archant

In 2018, Wreningham transformed their box into a village swap box and, in 2017, North Runcton turned one into what may be Norfolk’s smallest art gallery

Borough Mayor Carol Bower officially opened the new art gallery in North Runcton. Picture: Ian Burt

Borough Mayor Carol Bower officially opened the new art gallery in North Runcton. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Archant

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As many as 30 kiosks are available in North Norfolk, with 21 in King’s Lynn & West Norfolk, 11 in Breckland, 10 in South Norfolk, eight in Broadland, five in Waveney, four in Norwich and just one box up for grabs in Great Yarmouth. 

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. 

BT will continue to provide electricity (if already in place) to power the light for adopted phone boxes, free of charge.

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

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