There are 10,000 people in Ireland without a home and without a fixed address which means they have difficulty accessing essential services like education, healthcare, housing. Keeping in touch with family and friends can also be difficult.
As a major Irish company with world-class expertise and a deeply-connected, community-conscious body of staff, An Post’s purpose is to be a force for good, wherever An Post can, and to improve the quality of life of the Irish people.
An Post has the expertise and the national reach to make a real difference for those living without a home and without a fixed address by improving access to essential services. In 2019, An Post stepped up to launch a new service that could help break the cycle of homelessness.
An Post developed Address Point to provide a fixed address and a secure mail collection point to those without a permanent address. Address Point is enabling people to stay in touch and to receive regular post relating to medical appointments, schools, job applications, family matters etc. In April, An Post joined with all service providers to officially launch Address Point – a free, simple and secure post office-based service, available in every county in Ireland.
Our CSR Communications Strategy involved a multi-channel programme led by pre-engagement with key stakeholders, an internal launch, a national launch with the charities championing the new service, leveraging the power of service users’ testimonials to highlight the importance of a fixed address followed by a national and regional media campaign, and direct communications with County Councils.
In Phase 1: we engaged homeless charities & facilities (Depaul; Crosscare; Focus Ireland; Peter McVerry; SVP; Merchant’s Quay etc) and activated focus groups with The Dublin Simon Community.
Phase 2: an Internal communications programme was activated.
Phase 3: Address Point was referenced at An Post’s brand refresh media launch.
Phase 4: ‘Address Point’ stand alone launch and media relations programme was activated.
Media coverage was achieved across all channels, nationally and regionally. International coverage was achieved on BBC News and MSN online. Sentiment was 99% positive towards the initiative with the most used words in media being ‘practical’; ‘essential’ and ‘inclusive’ reflecting An Post’s purpose. Within 6 months, one-third of homeless people in the Republic signed up for the initiative. The response from the homeless community has indicated that this will be an essential and vital lifeline for improving their quality of life.
The communications campaign reached an audience of over 34 million people.
“This initiative is one of the most practical things that has been done to help the homeless and it will make such a difference to people’s lives. It gives us autonomy and independence.” – Derek McGuire, former rough sleeper.