UK's 3,000th adopted red phone box given a new life-saving future
13 May 2016
A red phone box in a picturesque Cumbrian village is set to become a life-saver after marking a major milestone in BT’s Adopt a Kiosk programme.
The 3,000th box to be adopted in the UK - in Loweswater, Cumbria – has just been fitted with defibrillator equipment, which can help save the lives of heart attack victims.
The equipment has been paid for by BT and installed by the Community Heartbeat Trust, a charity that makes possible the provision of defibrillators for local communities.
Available to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the defibrillator is secured in the phone box in a high visibility yellow, vandal-resistant, heated steel cabinet. It can be opened with a combination code available from the emergency services by calling 999.
As there is no mobile phone signal at the kiosk, BT has also sponsored a landline for emergency calls.
The defibrillator machine provides spoken step-by-step instructions, analysing the victim to determine if they are suffering from a cardiac arrest and delivering a powerful, but controlled electric shock to restore normal heartbeat if required.
The phone box was bought by Community Heartbeat Trust for £1 as part of BT’s Adopt a Kiosk scheme because it was no longer needed as a working payphone.
Martin Fagan, national secretary for the Community Heartbeat Trust charity, which undertook the project, said: “The use of redundant phone boxes is both a life saver for the community and these iconic structures.
“The renovation of the box, which includes a commissioned floor reflecting the character of the Lake District, the placement of a life-saving defibrillator and the installation uniquely of a 999 emergency telephone, reflects a super use of this installation and we are immensely grateful to BT for their very generous support for this.”
BT’s Adopt a Kiosk scheme has captured the imagination of people up and down the country since it was introduced in 2008. Apart from the defibrillator kiosks, boxes have been turned into art galleries, a pub, a colour therapy room, mini libraries, exhibitions and information centres.
Mark Johnson, programme manager at BT Payphones, said: “We couldn’t let this 3,000th adoption pass without recognising such an achievement and it’s so gratifying to see this village phone box being given a new lease of life and being put to such good use once again.
“The most fantastic thing about the Adopt a Kiosk scheme has been how communities across the country have become involved. Red phone boxes have become a focal point for all sorts of activities of real value to the local community.
“Over the years, many people have said that their local phone box was a lifeline for them. Now that almost everyone has a phone at home or a mobile, that’s no longer true, but boxes fitted with defibrillator machines are a genuine asset to their community and could be real life savers in the future. I hope that many more communities choose to fit them.”