THE CLIENT: Bellway Homes

 

THE BRIEF:  Working on a retained basis for Bellway Homes across Yorkshire our role is to promote its various developments through traditional media relations activity in local and regional press relevant to particular sites and their target markets.

The Bluecoats development in Sheffield was of particular importance to Bellway as it saw the company redeveloping a high-profile site in the heart of one of the city’s most desirable residential areas.

Our challenge was to create the maximum impact for the launch of the development.

 

THE STRATEGY: Source decided that the site’s history was the key to creating a story that would attract a significant amount of press interest – and what a history. It had been built in 1911 to house a Bluecoat charity school; been requisitioned by the Army in 1939; housed the city’s College of Art – a period of time that saw Wallace & Grommet creator, Nick Parks study there -; and most latterly be given a Grade II listing.

We decided to go back to the Bluecoat school period of this rich history for the basis of our launch strategy. From 1911 to 1939, the school provided an education and home for homeless and orphaned boys, and what better way to reintroduce the site’s rebirth as a residential part of the city than to seek out former pupils whose lives had been shaped, and in some cases, saved by their time at the school.

We launched an initial appeal for former pupils that targeted local print and broadcast press, and then invited the ex-pupils who contacted us to attend as VIPs to officially open the development’s first show home.

 

THE RESULTS: Former pupil’s Peter Gilliard (87), Leslie Hodkinson (91) and Dennis Richard (84) all contacted us from the initial bout of activity, which saw coverage achieved in the two Sheffield newspapers, the Yorkshire Post and BBC Radio Sheffield.

The three gentlemen then attended the show-home opening, took part in a photo-call attended by the local press, and shared their memories of their time at Bluecoats live on BBC Radio Sheffield. Follow-up coverage of the event again appeared in the two Sheffield newspapers and the Yorkshire Post, as well as featuring in the property supplement of the Yorkshire Evening Post.

Bellway’s Bluecoats development, which in total comprised 14 luxury apartments in the renovated, Grade II listed old school building, and a selection of new build townhouses and four and five bedroom detached homes, proved to be one of its fastest ever selling developments in Yorkshire.