Reconnecting Ireland's homeless community through The Shared Network
The Shared Network is the second initiative from An Post to reconnect Ireland’s homeless and the first mobile data sharing initiative created specifically for the homeless community.
Working with An Post our objectives in launching The Shared Network were to raise awareness around the issue of homelessness, and to continue to provide practical support to those without a home.
The Shared Network involved An Post donating data from their mobile network and redistributing it to those who need it most. Many people suffering from homelessness have a phone, but not the data to properly make use of it.
An Post committed to making an initial donation of 18,000GB of data across 2,000 SIM cards to five key national charities to distribute to their clients. These charities included: Dublin Simon Community, Focus Ireland, Peter McVerry Trust, St Vincent De Paul, and Merchants Quay Ireland.
We developed a multi-channel strategy 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 the service followed by a national media campaign.
Working with An Post, we hosted a launch event for media and the homeless services at the Capuchin Day Centre in October, 2019. Debbie Byrne, Managing Director of Retail at An Post welcomed the audience and explained The Shared Network service. Pat Greene, Dublin Simon; Mike Allen, Director of Advocacy, Communications and Research at Focus Ireland; Fiona McDonnell, Homeless Services Co-Ordinator, MQI and Father Sean Donohoe, Capuchin Day Centre Co-Director all spoke publicly at the event and championed the workings of The Shared Network. We hosted a photocall with Debbie Byrne and set-up high profile interviews with Capuchin Day Centre Clients.
Strong messaging, strong media and stakeholder endorsement and support, and multi-channel reach.
All key stakeholders and media attended the launch at the Capuchin Day Centre. The announcement received blanket coverage across national and regional print, broadcast, and online media, with news segments appearing on RTE’s Six One News and Virgin Media News. The communications campaign reached an audience of over 7 million people – 50 times ROI.
The response from the homeless community indicated that this was an essential and vital lifeline for improving their quality of life. From keeping in touch with family, to trying to secure a bed for the night, searching the web for a new home to rent, or getting access to essential services – The Shared Network was regarded as a practical initiative that has made a real difference.