Westminster has the highest number of rough sleepers than anywhere in the country, and the figure is rising each year. The council spends more than £6m per annum on homelessness and support services for homeless people. It works closely with many of the charities in the area, to ensure that there is a co-ordinated solution to maximise the effectiveness of the resources available.
Westminster Council asked Westco Creative to work together on a campaign that would not only raise money through public donations, but also change the way people felt about the rough sleeping problem in the city.
Seamus, Service Manager, Hopkinson House
We came up with the idea for Hidden Network campaign after talking to people working in the services. It became apparent that the public is familiar with many of the charities involved but can be confused as to which one they should donate to. What they were unaware of is the degree to which all the charities work together behind the scenes to cross-refer clients, ensuring help is directed to those who need it most.
Peter, Outreach Worker, Turning Point
We felt that rather than show the stories of rough sleepers, which the public has seen before and become used to, we would hero the professionals and volunteers who work every day to try and alleviate homelessness in Westminster.
Their expertise covers far more than hostels and ‘soup kitchens’. We spoke to professionals who deal with drug and alcohol misuse, mental health, occupational health and language services, as well as outreach workers and accommodation providers.
The campaign was video led and initially featured three of the most compelling stories. We produced three minute films which were then cut down for use on social media. The campaign was also supported by posters in stations, leaflets and targeted on-street activity.
We worked with technology providers to allow donations to be made on the street using contactless machines, so people could donate using debit cards. Many businesses including McDonalds were keen to be involved and installed the ‘tap machines’ in their windows.