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Annual Report 2010-11

Supporting the Irish in Britain

Message from the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr. Eamon Gilmore T.D., to the Federation of Irish Societies Annual Meeting 2011 I would like to express my appreciation of the work undertaken by the Federation of Irish Societies and its affiliates over the past year. Your contribution to raising the profile of the Irish in Britain continues to greatly enhance the quality of life for many Irish who live throughout the country. In particular, I would like to congratulate the Federation for its innovative campaign that raised the profile of the Irish ethnicity question in the British Census last March. The outcome of the campaign will play a key role in the provision of services to our communities in the coming years. I am also aware of the range of advisory and support services carried out by the Federation in partnership with its member organisations. It is vital that Irish organisations share experiences in order to enhance their capacity to meet the evolving demands of their communities. Also in the current climate, it is incumbent on voluntary groups to be able to demonstrate that they are operating in line with best practice in areas such as good governance and financial management. As exemplified by the visit of Her Majesty the Queen to Ireland earlier this year, relations between Britain and Ireland have never been closer. The Irish community in Britain are at the centre of this relationship. I was delighted earlier in the year to announce grants of over £6 million for Irish organisations in Britain. These grants demonstrate the Government’s ongoing commitment to strengthening our relationship with our community groups. I will ensure that the focus of these grants remains on supporting frontline organisations who provide vital services to our most vulnerable emigrants. I would again like to commend the Board and staff of the Federation of Irish Societies and all of its members on your achievements and wish you all every success for the year ahead.

Image credits front cover from clockwise: Irish Community Services (Photo: Eileen Taylor); How Irish Are You? advert (Photo:; Leeds Irish Health and Homes (Photo: Gavin Freeborn); How Irish Are you? (Photo: Alessandro Costa ); FIS AGM 2010 (Photo: David Cotter); Leeds Irish Health and Homes (Photo: Gavin Freeborn) Irish Community Services (Photo: Eileen Taylor); IWIC incorporating BICF (Photo: Nora Cox)

Chair and CEO statement The Federation of Irish Societies is a membership organisation working towards a healthy, confident and empowered Irish community in Britain.

Dr Mary Tilki -Chair

Jennie McShannon -CEO

Our community is a diverse and dynamic one. We are a community of carers, investors, suppliers, customers and networks and together we work as ambassadors of Irish arts, culture, community and enterprise. The Federation aims to be at the heart of this community - supporting, representing, engaging and facilitating the Irish in Britain. Looking back on 2010-2011 • • • •

The 2011 Census campaign empowered young and old to engage with their heritage and tick the Irish box. Comprehensive business support and advice helped sustain over 100 Irish community groups, despite current economic challenges. Support for the new All Party Parliamentary Group on the Irish in Britain guaranteed representation of Irish issues in parliament. Numerous responses to public consultations ensured that the Irish community’s voice is heard in relation to government policy developments.

Looking forward to 2011-2012 As our community continues to build in confidence, the Federation welcomes and engages with the ‘New Irish’ whilst continuing to support the established Irish community in Britain. Over the coming year we will continue to explore and develop relationships; play a national representative role and support and initiate research. With the Olympics less than one year away we are planning an exciting national cultural campaign, working in partnership with our members and partners across the country. Finally, we want to thank our funders, staff, board and community for their continued recognition and support in our role as the representative voice of the Irish in Britain.


the Irish in Britain

A network in action

The Federation is reflective of a modern Irish community in Britain, one in which we value mutual responsibility for the success of our young people, the care of our elders, and the support for those most at risk. Our membership network is one way we facilitate and encourage this shared purpose. Established in 1973 with 25 organisations we now engage with over 120 organisations every year. We strongly believe in the value of working collaboratively and over this year we have worked with over 30 organisations to develop partnerships, mergers and jointly funded projects and websites. An example of this involved mapping of support services for the elderly Irish across Britain which highlighted a gap of provision in some Yorkshire areas.

Consequently we have developed a cluster of organisations working together to develop solutions in new areas. We continued to work closely with other Irish business and social networks and we thank those professionals that have helped us this year by providing pro bono support. The Federation will continue to broker partnerships between the Irish business sector and community organisations to enable a united community response to the needs of our most vulnerable. We believe our Irish community network, in the physical or virtual world, is essential to ensure that support is available, opportunities are developed and connections made between new arrivals and the established community.

Image credits: Leeds Irish Health and Homes (Photo: Gavin Freeborn); IWIC incorporating BICF (Photo: Nora Cox)


the Irish in Britain

Understanding and responding to need

The Federation works at a national strategic level and over this year we have continued to support organisations understand and respond to the changing needs of the community. Health research

Critical research into the wider health issues facing our community, including dementia, has continued this year. This provides us with a robust evidence base to respond to public consultations on the health and social policy agenda affecting the Irish community. We were delighted to work with the All Party Parliamentary Group on Cancer to support a research project led by the Genetic Alliance and the University of Nottingham looking at the levels of cancer within the Irish community.

Cultural funding

Our research into the success of Arts Council England (ACE) applications from Irish organisations and artists found that they were generally under-represented. We have worked closely with ACE to develop better monitoring and an improved funding relationship. Since then four applications have been successful - a 50% increase on 2009-10. This is a very positive outcome of our efforts to improve access to funding for our members. Our representation to the Heritage Lottery Fund has also resulted in significantly improved funding with four member organisations receiving in excess of ÂŁ150,000 - this is nearly 50% of the value of all awards made to Irish organisations in the previous sixteen years.

Impact of cuts

We have also undertaken research with members to map the impact of cuts across local authorities on Irish services. We are using this information to further evidence the challenges facing organisations working to support the Irish community.

Policy responses

Our research work has helped to inform 14 consultation responses to proposed changes in government policy which will affect our community. Alongside this we have produced 9 briefing papers on older peoples rights, alcohol, mental health and Traveller issues to distribute to members, MPs and key stakeholders across the sector.

Image credit: Aylesbury & District Irish Society (Photo: Anne B Christensen)



the Irish in Britain

A representative voice

Throughout the year the Federation has identified and created new opportunities to represent the Irish voice which included: • • • •

Our role in launching and administering the new All Party Parliamentary Group on the Irish in Britain which secured a debate in Westminster on issues facing our community Our involvement in a report published by the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly Liaison with government departments such as Office for National Statistics, Health, Communities and Local Government Discourse with the Irish Government on the ‘Forgotten Irish’; new Irish emigrants and the role of the Irish community in supporting the peace process and economic recovery.

We have also been invited onto 19 forums, think tanks and discussion exchanges. Our presence gives a unique national overview of the Irish community in Britain and the role of our member organisations in bringing about positive change. By working with key national and regional agencies such as the Alzheimer’s Society, Age Concern, NCVO, brap and ROTA we have developed joint funding bids and shared skills and knowledge between organisations. We have also represented the community at the All Party Group on Cancer, the Department of Work and Pensions and the Department of Health. Image credits: FIS St Patrick’s Day reception, Ambassador Bobby McDonagh, Lord Alf Dubs, (Photos: David Cotter) Dr Mary Tilki, Chair FIS (Photo: Alessandro Costa)


the Irish in Britain

Celebrating our heritage

The ‘How Irish Are You?’ census campaign captured the hearts and minds of the Irish community. The campaign asked all Irish-born, second, third and even fourth generations to ‘tick the Irish box’ when filling in the ethnicity question. The feedback we had from the community was hugely positive. The campaign received extensive local and national coverage on radio, TV, print and social media. It gave the community an opportunity to express a pride in their heritage and for many to re-engage with what it means to be Irish. The importance of this campaign in ensuring that the Irish in Britain are properly enumerated cannot be underestimated. Census data informs so many elements of government policy and delivery across areas such as local health services, funding local

cultural events and festivals and reaching those most excluded from mainstream services. The ‘How Irish Are You?’ campaign mobilised the whole Irish community bringing together individuals, member organisations, Irish businesses and celebrities. The community spirit and sense of pride had far-reaching impact across many generations - giving people an opportunity to celebrate and identify in a positive way with their ethnicity. Although the Census ethnicity data will not be published until 2013 we would like to thank everyone who got involved and more importantly ticked the Irish box! We now look forward to our next campaign which will celebrate and promote the Irish contribution to culture and sport in Britain throughout 2012. Sponsors: Kerrygold, Tourism Ireland, Enjoy Travel, Irish Post.

Image credits: How Irish Are You? (Photo: Alessandro Costa); How Irish Are You? (Photo:


the Irish in Britain

Developing organisations

Our community development team plays a critical role in providing business support and advice to our members. They provide support across a number of areas such as governance, business planning and funding, asset and retail management, marketing and PR, human resources and workforce development. This year the team has worked with over 100 organisations across Britain assisting them to steer their services through these challenging times. Our support has resulted in: • •

Stronger trustee boards more compliant with charity and company obligations and more robust in their overall governance Organisations demonstrating increased strategic planning for the future

• •

Greater engagement with local strategic forums, councils and funders Organisations ready to embrace new commissioning processes

The Federation continues to support the growth and development of our partnership with the Irish Management Consortium (IMC), a buying group developed by 9 of our member clubs. We are delighted to report that deals negotiated on bulk purchase of services have delivered real savings to our members. Four of our member organisations have saved over £30,000 between them in the current years running costs with one member alone saving £12,000 per annum on energy bills. Image credits from clockwise: FIS event (Photo: David Cotter) Irish man (Photo: Andy Smith); Planning day (Photo: FIS), FIS event (Photo: David Cotter), Asmaa Khalid, FIS Policy Intern (Alessandro Costa), John Gradwell, FIS Capacity Building team (Alessandro Costa)


the Irish in Britain

The financial accounts|Year ended 31 March 2011

Where our money comes from

How we spent it

Voluntary income .....................£24,006 Activities for generating funds..£10,012 Investment income......................£1989 Incoming resources from charitable activities..................................£592,760

Cost of generating voluntary income...£81 Staff costs....................................£373,387 Travel & accomodation.................£21,560 Other charitable activities..........£169,475 Governance costs..........................£10,433


Total............................................£574,906 Tangible fixed assets: £369

Creditors: amounts falling due within one year: £285,788

Debtors: £30,322 Cash at bank and in hand: £457,093







Total funds at start of year Surplus for the year

The summary financial information above has been extracted from the full audited financial statements which can be obtained from the charity office. Trustees: Dr Mary Tilki (Chair), Declan Carroll (Treasurer), Danny Maher (Secretary), Bill Dee, Dermott Lappin, Kevin Meagher, Mary Spillane, Michael Snee, Paul O’Donovan, Pauline Roche, Sheila Large, Gary Fereday (Resigned 07/03/11), Karen Scanlon (Resigned 09/10/10) A special thank you to all staff this year for their hard work. Additional thanks to Richard Corrigan for his support of the Federation. 95 White Lion Street, London N1 9PF Tel: 020 7833 1226 Email: @irishinbritain Irish in Britain Company number: 04013148 Registered charity: 1092268

Annual Report 2010-2011  

The Federation of Irish Societies Annaual Report 2010-2011

Annual Report 2010-2011  

The Federation of Irish Societies Annaual Report 2010-2011