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Lench’s Trust

Services: Creative campaigns/Design and digital/Marketing/Strategic communications

Promoting almshouses for the twenty-first century

Lench’s Trust provides almshouse homes older people across Birmingham. Founded in 1526 and named after a local tanner, William Lench, the Trust continues to provide ‘superior sheltered housing’ throughout the city for people in need, especially those facing financial hardship or social isolation. It’s one of Birmingham’s oldest charities and has three schemes catering for 200 residents, plus an upcoming new development.

We first connected with the Lench’s team to help them with communications in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, plus support for national media relations. The trustees then asked us to work on marketing and campaigns to secure the almshouses’ future by ensuring a strong pipeline of potential future residents. They also wanted to do more to engage with the city’s diverse communities and actively respond to the needs of future generations of older people.

Although the homes were popular and with low rates of vacancies, the board was keen to keep it that way – with a healthy waiting list of local people able to benefit from this kind of accommodation.

The campaign we devised promoted the special nature of almshouse living, both its advantages and obligations, while positively representing the pleasures of later life. It focused on the positives about older people: they invented rock ‘n’ roll, and teenagers, and on average they retire for 20 years, making their housing choices at this stage of life a big decision.

We aimed to challenge the stereotypes, avoid clichés and focus on the personalities of existing residents to attract new applicants.

We wrote and designed a series of advertisements suitable for any media, plus a promotional flyer, email and social media material to use as part of a coordinated marketing plan. We also interviewed five residents to generate compelling case studies and organised a professional photoshoot at two of the almshouses to create a bank of strong images for future use.