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 Loweswater box in the 3000th to be adopted in the UK, having been adopted as part of a scheme being operated by Community Heartbeat and the the North West Ambulance Service in conjuction with BT. To commemorate such a landmark BT have donated toward a defibrillator and a 999 emergency landline facility which was installed by Community Heartbeat who makes possible the provision of defibrillators and emergency communications equipment for communites. 

This facility is now available to the local community 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the defibrillator is secured within the phone box in a high visibility yellow, vandal resistant, heated steel cabinet. It can be accessed via a combination issued by the emergency services during a 999 call.

BT have also sponsored the line going to the emergency phone as there is no mobile signal available within the area. 


The defibrillator provides spoken and visual step-by-step instructions, analysing the victim to determine if they are suffering from cardiac arrest and if so delivers a controlled electric shock to stop the heart and return it to a regular rhythm. 

As part of the work community Heartbeat does with help from British coatings federation the Kiosk at Loweswater has been repainted and returned to it's former iconic glory, a local resident, Roger Hiley has also tiled the floor of the kiosk drawing inspiration from his local landscape. "The mural stone draws on the green of the Lakeland fells, the creamy whites of the Swaledale ewes and the ruddled red of the classic Herdwicks at show time," he said. "The floor design also ties in with the Red Cross emblem to link to the neutrality and service commitment of those who give their time and efforts in the cause of the common good," explained Roger.

Lauren Watson, North West Ambulance's Chain of Life co-ordinator for Cumbria, commented: "This is a wonderful location for a public access defibrillator. This defibrillator will be passed by lots of walkers everyday as well as serving the local village. A brilliant project and one the Ambulance Service is very happy to have supported."

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 commisioned 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."

Up to 100,000 people in the UK suffer from an "out of hospital" sudden cardiac arrest making it one of the UK's largest killers. The faster a victim gets medical help, the better the chances of survival. With CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) alone, the survival rate is around 5&, but if a defibrillator is available and used in conjunction with CPR the chances of survival for a cardiac arrest victim rise to more than 50%.

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 truned into Art Galleries, a Pub, a Colour Therapy Room, Libraries and Exhibition and Information Centres. Even the village of Ambridge in BBC Radio 4's long-running drama The Archers have adopted their kiosk.

Mark Johnson, a Programme Manager at BT Payphones, said: "We couldn't let this 3000th 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 defibrillators are a genuine asset to their community and could be real life savers in the future. I hope many more communities choose to fit them."

There are currently 600 phone boxes in Cumbria. Of these, 76 are red boxes of which, 21 are listed buildings. There are 133 adopted boxes in Cumbria, 84 of which, have been adopted by Community Heartbeat Trust and are scheduled to contain defibrillators.








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