LIFE-SAVERS, libraries and even a pub - it appears phone boxes are no longer just for making calls.

The iconic red landmarks are being converted into works of art, message boards and coffee shops across Lancashire through BT's Adopt a Phone Box.

The scheme offers residents the opportunity to protect a part of their community’s heritage and take over a kiosk for just £1.

A total of 24 have been adopted across the county, including near the bus stop at the junction of Foster Road and Gisburn Road in Barnoldswick, Wheatley Lane Road, Fence, and three in Clitheroe.

In rural Burnley, a booth in Hurstwood Lane also earned a reprieve when it was granted listed status.

The scheme was launched in 2008, and the one in Clitheroe’s Market Place was adopted by Clitheroe Town Council two years ago to store a Public Access Defibrillator, which can deliver a shock to a restart a patient’s heart when they are in cardiac arrest.

In Wiswell, residents decided to adopt the quintessential symbol of village life in England and it is now adorned with a historical picture of the village.

Just over the border in Settle, people turned theirs into one of the world's smallest art galleries.

And a book swap is operating out of a kiosk in Whittle-le-Woods, near Chorley

Cllr Robert Thompson, who represents Wiswell and Pendleton ward on Ribble Valley Council, said: "The Parish Council purchased it and has maintained it ever since.

"It's a great idea to maintain them in the local community and it's a shame when you go up and down the country and see where they have never been adopted and have fallen into disrepair.

"There's one in the Trough of Bowland on the back road to Whitewell with its door hanging open in total dereliction."

There are 1,012 phone boxes in Lancashire of which just 112 are red boxes with slightly more than 50 per cent still commercially viable - this compares with a national average of 30 per cent.

The Red Kiosk Company is now offering people in East Lancashire the chance to apply for boxes to be used for mini-hot drinks stalls, ice cream parlours or mini-beauty salons.

Director Edward Ottewell says the firm currently owns 140 and is offering them for a £6-a-day lease - with seven already on the market in Preston - and he wants to acquire more in the east of the county.

Former teacher Gary Crowhurst, who manages two coffee and ice cream stands, said: "You certainly get some surprised looks – people are generally very interested, they’re always stopping to take photos, and usually ask a few questions about how we got started.

"The red phone box is such an iconic part of British life, it’s nice to see someone keeping them standing, showing them a bit of love."