RED phone boxes are not very common anymore but one is standing out with a new purpose and design.

The Caerleon Christmas Committee has been working tirelessly since November last year to provide the town with a defibrillator that will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Committee member Phil Sergeant said that although there are already multiple defibrillators in the town, including the town hall and doctors surgery, the equipment is only available during opening hours.

“We wanted to put one right in the heart of Caerleon where there are lots of out of hours activities including pubs, shops open on the weekends," he said.

“We noticed a phone box outside of the post office and although it was a working one and had a phone in it, it needed work.”

South Wales Argus:

(The phone box in Caerleon. Picture: Phil Sergeant)

The committee adopt the telephone box from BT for the small fee of £1 and teamed up with the Community Heartbeat Trust who specialise in providing defibrillators that are available 24/seven and have worked with BT’s adoption scheme before.


A £200 grant was given by the British Heart Foundation to go towards the purchasing of the defibrillator, which can cost around £800.

Community Heartbeat Trust provided free paint and signage to help transform the phone box. The idea the committee had was to turn the phone box yellow as this would be original and stand out more.

But as they were priming the phone box, the committee found out it was a Grade II listed structure and any changes needed planning permission.

A compromise was found by painting the top of the box yellow and replacing the ‘phone box’ signs with ‘defibrillator’.

“We wanted to show that it is no longer a phone box but now a piece of lifesaving equipment that could be used today, tomorrow or any time,” Mr Sergeant said.

The defibrillator has now been fitted and is working and available to use. It is being registered with the Welsh Ambulance Services Trust, which will then allow operators to direct members of the public to the defibrillator should a 999 call be placed.

Now the committee will put in a retrospective planning application for the change of use and signage.

Mr Sergeant says he hopes that having the defibrillator in such a prominent position in the community will save lives.

The committee are also putting on CPR training classes in Caerleon.

Community Heartbeat Trust donated 10 dummies and a DVD that talks participants through the process.