BT offers communities chance to 'adopt' old phone box for £1

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by Gráinne Connolly

Community groups across Northern Ireland are being offered the unusual opportunity to adopt a local payphone box for just £1.

BT, who still own the kiosks, is hoping groups will transform them into new ventures to benefit local communities.

Across Northern Ireland, there's still 1,659 phone booths available to be adopted with 180 being traditional red boxes, however there's either little or no usage.

With a large number of people in Northern Ireland now using a mobile phone, usage of payphones has declined by around 90 per cent in the past decade

In other parts of the UK, the kiosks were transformed for a number of projects, including housing for defibrillators, mini-libraries, coffee shops, miniature art museums, sweet shops and information centres. 

One payphone in Devon was even turned into the "world's smallest nightclub".

BT will continue to cover the electricity to the adopted payphones.

Below is a breakdown of the booths available across different parts of Northern Ireland: 

Commenting on the launch, Paul Murnaghan, BT’s Enterprise division director in Northern Ireland said: “We are delighted to be announcing the launch of the Adopt a Kiosk Scheme in Northern Ireland.

“What better way to make use of our existing kiosks than to offer communities the chance to ‘adopt’ them in their local area and give them a new lease of life?

“It’s simple to apply and individual assessments will take place to confirm if the adoption is possible and whether there is availability in a specific area.

"The opportunities are endless and since we launched the scheme in other parts of the UK, more than 5,500 communities have seized the chance to do something great with their local phone box.”

Communities can adopt a kiosk in Northern Ireland if they are a recognised local authority, such as a district or borough council, a parish, or town hall.

Boxes can also be adopted by registered charities or by individuals who have a payphone on their own land.

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