After successfully bidding for £3 million of government funding to improve privately-owned housing stock, Eastbourne Borough Council needed to encourage residents of the town to apply for grants, financial assistance, and interest-free loans. Sums of £100 to £30,000 were available for home repairs; for home adaptations to improve safety, warmth and energy efficiency; and to bring empty properties back into use.
My copywriting service
I was the copywriter of a 20-page booklet which was direct-mailed to households whose occupants could qualify for the financial assistance. I also determined the booklet’s contents and page allocations, commissioned and briefed the photographer, and worked closely with the graphic designer.
The booklet’s target audience was people who were unemployed, on low incomes, or aged over 60. The language had to be plain and the text as brief as possible. The many different types of financial assistance available had to be presented in a way that was easy to understand. And the copy had to convince readers that the assistance would be easy to apply for.
The campaign theme – ‘Because you deserve it!’ – was adopted as the main headline for the front cover of the booklet, which also spelled-out the simple proposition: ‘You could be entitled to loans and grants for home improvement’. The cover featured portrait photos of people who had already benefited from assistance. The same people were shown again inside the book in full-page portraits, with a short quote from each about the help they’d received.
The booklet’s brief introduction started with the words ‘You deserve to be warm, safe and secure in your own home, whatever your circumstances may be.’ Each double-page-spread explained the help offered by a particular type of grant. The booklet covered discounted insulation (‘Keep warm and cut costs’); renewable energy grants (‘Go green to save money’); grants and assistance for fixing and upgrading properties (‘Improvements and repairs’); disabled facilities grants (‘Making it easier to get around at home’); emergency repair grants (‘Emergency heating and hot water repairs’); hospital discharge assistance (‘Stay out of hospital’); security, sanctuary and safety equipment grants (‘Be safe, be secure’); and empty property and rent deposit energy improvement grants (‘Especially for landlords’). The copy also explained, in plain English, ‘Who’s eligible’ and ‘How much am I entitled to?’
Eastbourne Borough Council succeeded in meeting its targets, outperforming other local authorities who had obtained similar funding.