In 2013, the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources awarded the license for rolling out Ireland’s first postcode system to Capita plc. The postcode was known as an Eircode, and Capita established a new firm called Eircode to develop and run the system. Based on the Department’s prior experience with a Community Outreach communications programme for the switchover from analogue to digital television in 2012 (which had been devised and delivered by the consortium of The Wheel and Irish Rural Link), the Department agreed with Capita/Eircode that The Wheel, in conjunction with Irish Rural Link, would be engaged to develop and run a Community Outreach programme that would underpin the mainstream national communications campaign.
The ‘Eircode Community Outreach Programme’ was to reach vulnerable people / households who might not be reached by the general public awareness campaign, during the launch phase of Ireland’s new postcode system, named ‘Eircode’. The Eircode Community Outreach Programme was based on a creative and innovative use of existing non-profit sector infrastructure to reach the target audience and 23x local community or development organisations were recruited to take on the role of ‘Eircode Assistant’. Irish Rural Link played a key leadership role in the Department’s own over-arching Eircode launch Steering Group, through Seamus Boland’s membership of that group. The direct line-management of the 23x ‘Eircode Assistants’ was the responsibility of Irish Rural Link.