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17th Jun, 2021

Campaign launched to transform Rubery phone box into the UK's first 'Digital Safety Pod'

A FUND-RAISING campaign has launched to turn a disused telephone box in Rubery into a ‘digital safety pod’ to provide a place for people when they need help.

It is hoped it could be used by victims of domestic violence or other criminality or someone going through a mental health crisis who needs a ‘safe space’.

The kiosk, on New Road, has been donated by Devendra Kuma who owns the Post Office the telephone box is outside.

The high-tech box would have CCTV inside and outside, a locking door – automatic and manual, a monitor, alarm, reinforced windows, power and lighting, and direct 999 call access.

It would also double up as a 24/7 defibrillator cabinet in case of a cardiac arrest.

Advertising space on the sides of the box would be used to pay for its upkeep and maintenance.

The campaign for ‘digital safety pods’ has been launched by Farrah McNutt who owns Catch a Thief UK, a business which helps retailers prevent shoplifting, anti-social behaviour, vandalism and other issues.

She was thinking about how safe spaces could be provided for people who need help to make the UK’s streets helper and then came across an advert on a phone box for BT’s Adopt a Kiosk scheme where the telecommunications firm sell off the boxes for community use.

She is hoping to transform a number of unused telephone boxes in the UK into digital safety pods and campaigners will be sourcing funding for the venture in the coming weeks.

The fund-raising target to create the pods has been set to £10,000 initially and Rubery would be the first place in the UK to have one and pilot the scheme.

Farrah said: “I put it onto my social media pages and received loads of messages back from people, saying what a great idea everyone thought it was.

“The response was overwhelming.”

Farrah is based in Leicestershire but has family in Rubery who know Dev and they suggested she contact him about the New Road phone box.

She added: “Dev’s been brilliant – him donating that has saved us £3,000 for this project.

“He said as long as it was going to be used by the community, we could have it.”

The door needs replacing and with the reinforced glass and other modifications, Farrah anticipates the first digital safety pod will cost around £4,000.

For more on the scheme visit Farrah’s Digital Safety Pods Facebook page.

Click here for the crowdfunding appeal.

 

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