This phone box at Mays Corner near Annaclone is one of many local kiosks put up for adoption by BT.
MORE than a dozen local red phone boxes are being put up for adoption by BT as communities are being urged to take them over and help transform them for the 21st Century.
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.
BT will also consider adoption requests to house defibrillators in modern glass phone boxes, a potentially life-saving conversion.
The locations of the local phone boxes currently 'up for adoption' are:
Ballinaskeagh Road, Ballinaskeagh
Mays Corner Road, Katesbridge
McGaffin's Corner, Rathfriland Road, Donaghmore
Stewarts Road, Dromara
Newry Street, Banbridge
Seapatrick Road, Banbridge,
Scarva Road, Banbridge
Huntly Road, Banbridge
St Pious Hill Lower, Ballymartin
Killowen Road, Rostrevor
Queen Street, Warrenpoint
Bryansford Road, Kilcoo
Newcastle Road, Castlewellan
Ballynahinch Road, Castlewellan
Greenan Lough Road, Newry
Tandragee Road, Newry
Paul Murnaghan, Regional Director for BT’s Enterprise business in Northern Ireland, 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.
“The ‘Adopt a Kiosk’ scheme makes it possible for communities to retain their local phone box, with a refreshed purpose for the community.
“I would encourage communities to take advantage of this opportunity and give their local beloved phone box a new lease of life – the possibilities are endless. Applying is quick and easy and we’re always happy to speak to communities about adopting our phone boxes.”
The Community Heartbeat Trust charity is working with BT and local communities across the UK to install lifesaving defibrillators in local kiosks.
Martin Fagan, National Secretary for the Community Heartbeat Trust charity, said: “BT’s phone box kiosks are iconic 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, including in Northern Ireland.
“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 across towns and cities have also been upgraded by BT to digital units, called Street Hubs, offering free ultrafast public Wi-Fi, free UK phone calls, USB device charging, environmental monitoring and more.
BT’s Street Hubs also play a vital role in sharing public information, for example during the Covid-19 pandemic Street Hub units have displayed key advice from local councils. Street Hubs form part of BT’s plan to transform the UK’s high streets with a digital communications service designed for the 21st century.