By Ann Marie Foley - 31 October, 2019
Although many of Ireland’s homeless have phones, few can afford data all the time.
An Post is to give more than 18,000 GB of data to homeless people, ensuring that they have full use of their mobile phone when seeking accommodation and staying in touch with loved ones.
On Tuesday 29 October An Post Mobile (which sells mobile phone services) with charities at the Capuchin Day Centre, Dublin, launched The Shared Network, a mobile data (sharing) initiative for people who are homeless or living in temporary accommodation.
Although many of Ireland’s homeless have phones, few can afford data all the time. An Post is donating the data via 2000 SIM cards to be given to homeless people by 5 national charities including Dublin Simon Community, Focus Ireland, the Peter McVerry Trust, the St Vincent de Paul and Merchants Quay Ireland.
“The Shared Network will make a real difference to people’s lives. From keeping in touch with family to searching the web for a new home to rent, it is a practical initiative that will make a real difference,” said Pat Dennigan, CEO, Focus Ireland.
The Shared Network will begin with the initial donation from An Post Mobile and then the company will add 1GB of extra data for every new customer that joins the An Post Mobile network until the end of 2020.
Existing An Post Mobile customers can also get in on the act and donate to The Shared Network when they top up, with An Post matching all data donations received by the end of March 2020. An Post hopes that The Shared Network can stay powered throughout 2020 and that the people of Ireland can play a part in helping Ireland’s homeless community to get connected and back on their feet.
Debbie Byrne, Managing Director, Retail, at An Post, said: “The Shared Network facilitates more reliable communication and connection with essential services. In an age where connectivity is key, those without online access can feel increasingly isolated and left behind.”
Debbie Byrne also announced at The Shared Network launch that An Post is giving a donation from every €19 booklet of 20 Christmas stamps to make up a special fund that will be shared among charities around the country working with people who are homeless or in temporary accommodation. Based on anticipated sales, An Post expects the donation to homeless charities to be a minimum of €150,000.
Back in April, An Post launched Address Point, a free personal postal address and letter collection service for people who are homeless or living in temporary accommodation.
At the time, the Peter McVerry Trust welcomed the initiative, calling it a personal and practical service that would make a real difference to people’s lives. The charity stated that while having a secure address might seem like a small thing, it would bring huge benefits, for example when making medical appointments or job or other applications.
Address Point generates a personal address based on the person’s choice of local post office where they aim to collect their post. The address can be generated online using a mobile phone or laptop, for use on all correspondence. Letters can then be collected by the customer on production of photo ID at the post office of choice.
Should a person move to a different area, a new address can be generated, linked to a post office in the new location.