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Small businesses to pop up in red phone boxes  

22 January 2015

Scores of old red BT phone boxes are set to be transformed into new small businesses.

They include sweet shops, photo booths, souvenir shops, mobile phone charging units, ice cream shops, small parcel collection sites and tea and coffee shops.

It seems there’s no end to uses the kiosks can be put to after becoming available through BT’s Adopt a Kiosk scheme, which enables local charities and community groups to buy underused red phone boxes from the company for just £1.

The Brighton-based Red Kiosk Company, and its associated charitable trust Thinking Outside the Box, is rolling out 498 planning applications for changing the use of red phone boxes across the UK.

Red phone box shop

Miles Broe, design and planning director for Red Kiosk Company, said: “We have 62 kiosks approved for retail use kiosks to date, and we are submitting ten applications per week.

“We’re offering a variety of uses that can be incorporated within our bespoke pod that is fabricated and placed within the original and unaltered kiosks. Depending upon the specific location, we’re offering tenants a wide choice of business opportunities.”

The charitable trust aims to transform lives by empowering people to break cycles of homelessness, dependency and unemployment. Ten per cent of every purchase made at a phone box business will go to the charity.

The first venture was to take over two phone boxes near Brighton’s Pavilion Gardens and transform them into self-contained units selling coffee and ice cream.

Katherine Bradley, BT head of payphone operations, said: “The Adopt a Kiosk programme has been successful in transforming unprofitable payphones. It preserves the heritage of the red kiosk but also saves BT significant costs of removal. Working with Thinking Outside the Box will make a big difference to local communities.”

Find out more about the Adopt a Kiosk scheme
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