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BT dials up 'Adopt a Kiosk' scheme in the North West

BT has revealed that 183 of its iconic red phone boxes across the North West are up for grabs; as it urges local communities to take advantage of a scheme to help transform them for the 21stcentury. Since 2008, a total of 451 phone boxes across the Region have been taken on by communities for just ₤1 each, through BT's Adopt a Kiosk programme. Redundant phone boxes, once a lifeline of communication before the arrival of mobile phone networks, have been transformed into everything from:- defibrillator units, mini history museums, even art galleries and book exchanges. BT will also consider adoption requests to house defibrillators in modern glass phone boxes, a potentially life saving conversion.

Sarah Walker, BT Enterprise unit Director for the North of England, 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. We're currently rationalising our payphone estate to make it fit for the future, and the:- 'Adopt a Kiosk' scheme makes it possible for local communities, in the North West, to retain their local phone box, with a refreshed purpose for the community. Thousands of communities have already come up with a fantastic array of ideas to re-use their beloved local phone box. Applying is quick and easy and we're always happy to speak to communities about adopting our phone boxes."

From Aberdeen to Plymouth, the Community Heartbeat Trust charity is working with BT and local communities 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 British 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. 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 WiFi, 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 Covid19 Pandemic Street Hub Units across the country have displayed key advice, from Public Health England and 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.


Red kiosks left to adopt per District / Local Authority area in the North West:-
District / Local Authority Kiosks District / Local Authority Kiosks
Allerdale District 2 Manchester District 4
Barrow in Furness District 2 Oldham District 3
Blackburn with Darwen 3 Pendle District 3
Blackpool 12 Preston District 2
Burnley District 1 Ribble Valley District 6
Bury District 2 Salford District 1
Cheshire East 16 Sefton District 3
Cheshire West and Chester 27 South Lakeland District 14
Chorley District 2 St Helen's District 7
Copeland District 4 Stockport District 2
Eden District 23 Tameside District 2
Fylde District 5 Warrington 5
Halton 1 West Lancashire District 6
Hyndburn District 2 Wigan District 5
Lancaster District 2 Wirral District 6
Liverpool District 7 Wyre District 3
Total:- 183

Back in 2019 we investigated the idea to obtain the Red Phone Boxes, on Lord Street, Southport, and the response was very interesting, but sadly, we couldn't get any charities or groups interested. So what are your thoughts about using them? Please email your thoughts on this, to:- News24@SouthportReporter.Com.

ArtHouse Gallery re-opens with Spring Open Exhibition 2021

AFTER the imposed Covid19 hibernation, Southport Contemporary Arts' Gallery, the ArtHouse, in Eastbank Street, will be unbolting its doors, on 13 April 2021, with the launch of its annual Spring Exhibition.

Director of SCA, Norrie Bewick Calvert, is looking forward to welcome visitors again:- "After a really testing time for everyone, we are so excited to be able to celebrate our re-opening with a fabulous, positive and uplifting Spring Exhibition at our Southport Town Center Gallery. Our exhibitions are always a positive creative connectivity focus in our community but especially now, with people having been separated from each other for so long."

The Spring Exhibition is an Open, which means that not only SCA members, but also the wider creative community can also enter work. Norrie adds:- "Lockdown has been really hard for so many, but having the time to explore and develop creatively has really been a gift. So many of our local artists and makers have found that they've been able to develop their practice in ways that they hadn't previously had the time to do. It is well established now, that having an opportunity to be creative, has a hugely positive impact on mental and physical health. Appreciating this, throughout lockdown, we have stayed in touch not only with our members who have a longstanding creative practice, but also our cohort of students that would normally be attending our regular classes and workshops. It's been very rewarding to witness the positive impact that the contact, mutual support and creative outcomes, have encouraged as a result."

Regular SCA members on show include Formby Textile Artist, Jo Landy. A graduate in Printed Textiles from Liverpool John Moore's University, Jo has since has diversified into many other textile disciplines including stitch, felt, knit and jewellery. Dyes and dyeing techniques are of particular interest to Jo and her exploration of colour is a continual challenge. For the Open Jo will be submitting a new mixed media artwork:- 'Sunset on Ainsdale Beach.' Jo Landy said:- "There have been some wonderful skies on the beach during these last few months and on my many walks along the coast I have been inspired by the amazing colours and cloud formations in this beautiful part of the country."

Kate Tidmarsh is a local printmaker based in Burscough West Lancashire. Kate's focus is on experimental printmaking. She uses handprinting in response to the patterns, textures and colours of the world around her. Her prints are all handmade and individually inked, using a variety of techniques such as:- monoprint, drypoint and collagraph printing. These individual prints may stand alone, or be part of a related series exploring a theme. Her abstract print:- 'Night Lock,' is part of an on going series exploring her immediate surroundings:- "Because I live very close to the canal, I am investigating the more industrial aspects of this environment; the structures of the bridges and locks; contrasting the water to the stone / concrete / metal. The technique used is silk aquatint printing, with a unique viscosity inking, resulting in a 1 off print."

Also exhibiting will be Neil Prior, a professional Ainsdale artist having recently moved from Leicestershire, to Southport. Neil already has an established track record of commissions in oils, including portraits, still life, landscapes and more recently, his popular, dog portraiture:- 'Daffodil Explosion,' 1 of 3 recent flower studies, is an oil painting on canvas. "The thought behind it was that as we enter Spring our beautiful gardens and woodlands explode with the gorgeous yellow colours of the Daffodils. I painted it using, both brush and palette knife with the intended explosive effect in mind."

1 of outcomes from lockdown, also on exhibition, as part of the Spring Open, will be a unique large multi artist piece assembled from individual pieces of artwork. Brainchild of SCA stalwarts, Suzanna Gregg and Amanda Clark Price, over 15 SCA artists were invited to create a single piece of postcard sized artwork that celebrates Southport's diverse and exceptional environment. Norrie concludes:- "We are hoping that visitors will feel uplifted from their visit to the Gallery and that the Artists taking part, will feel the positive impact of that creative connectivity again, that is such an important part of what SCA sets out to achieve."

This year's Spring Open will run from 13 April 2021, until 22 May 2021, at the ArtHouse, located at 65 Eastbank Street, Southport. Opening times from Tuesday to Friday are as follows:- 10am to 3pm.

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