COMMUNITIES across the South West are being given the opportunity to ‘adopt’ nearly a thousand phone boxes for just £1 to turn them into something inspirational for their local area.

BT is inviting ideas for 970 of the traditional red boxes that have little or no usage.

More than 1,300 payphones have been adopted by communities across the region since 2008.

Boxes can be used for a range of purposes, such as housing defibrillators, or be converted into mini-libraries, art museums, cake shops, and information centres.

One payphone in Devon was even turned into the ‘world’s smallest nightclub’.

BT says it will continue to provide electricity (if already in place) to power the light for adopted kiosks, free of charge to communities.

Paul Coles, BT Group’s regional director of the South West, said: “I’m thrilled that we’re giving even more local communities the chance to adopt a phone box. With more than 1,300 payphones now adopted across the South West, this is a fantastic opportunity for communities to own a piece of history.

“The opportunities are endless and we’ve already seen some amazing transformations, whether for housing life-saving defibrillators or books, or even a disco. Applying is easy and quick and we’re always happy to speak to communities about adopting our traditional BT red payphone boxes.”

Communities can adopt a kiosk if they are a recognised public body, such as a parish council, community council town council or parish meeting. Boxes can also be adopted by registered charities or by individuals who have a payphone on their own land.

Most people now have a mobile phone and calls made from public telephones have fallen by around 90 per cent in the past decade, according to BT. The company is also replacing more than 1,000 payphones in major cities across the UK, with new digital hubs called InLinks as part of a joint venture with InLinkUK. Each InLink provides ultrafast, free public Wi-Fi, phone calls, device charging and a tablet for access to city services, maps and directions.

For further details on how to apply to Adopt a Kiosk, go to www.bt.com/adopt where application forms and information can be found.