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Advice & Outreach





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Day Centre


Missing Persons












Cover image © Malcolm McNally

Annual Review 14|15

Welcome own resources and plays a vital role in promoting social inclusion and creating interpersonal and business networks.

Welcome to the London Irish Centre Annual Review. This report will provide you with a brief overview of the vast range of projects, activities and events that have taken place in the past year.

Additionally, the London Irish Centre provides a base for other organisations to deliver a diverse range of services and facilities to the local, Irish and wider London population. The Camden centre is a major venue and conference facility, hosting international, national, regional and community events throughout the year. We also provide enormous support to other Irish charity and community organisations through the provision of either free or heavily discounted space in our centre. This community subsidy is valued at £157,000 in a full year.

Through a complex matrix of projects, services, programmes, support and subsidies, the charity creates value to the Irish community in London, directly benefitting tens of thousands of people. Through our offices in Camden, Kilburn and West Kensington, we deliver nine major projects in line with our charitable objectives, whilst also providing outreach services in a number of other London boroughs. With more than 30,000 people connected to our social networks, we are the biggest online Irish community in Britain and a place where the community comes together to discuss, connect and help each other. This vast connectivity is maintained through the charity’s

Essentially, the charity provides a holistic Irish community service: a combination of belonging, assistance, connection and social inclusion that is unique and irreplaceable.

‘Our work directly benefits tens of thousands of people.’

Our Key Charitable Objectives:





A MESSAGE FROM OUR CHAIR ‘I believe the coming years will see the London Irish Centre as a leader in the charity sector’

I was asked to step into the role of interim CEO in August this year, following David Barlow’s decision to step down. It has been a difficult 12 months with mounting pressures on our income and hard decisions to be taken. But there were also many highlights and positive developments at the charity over the past year.

At the end of the year, we decided to take a step back and think deeply about what the Irish community requires of a modern London Irish charity and centre. A short-term strategic plan was created to bridge the gap between our previous three-year plan and our next longer-term strategy. Over the past six months we have been focusing on creating a highly effective and efficient organisation, and this work is yielding results in all areas. Our team has been very supportive of the work, and I believe the coming years will see the London Irish Centre as a leader in the charity sector. As part of this plan we are reaching out to the community through surveys and consultation and will use the results to shape our medium-term vision for the charity.

We celebrated our 60th anniversary with a daylong event at the centre, attended by 350 people. Among them were many of our elderly clients, who expressed delight at the Board’s decision to reopen the Kennedy Hall as a new community resource. Our Day Centre has now relocated there and the space will soon house the new London Irish Centre Library. Our second Big Night Out was a wonderful, fun evening and, most importantly, a significant fundraiser raising over £30,000. Our thanks go to all those who attended and donated and particularly to Ed Sheeran, whose auction prizes yielded £9,000.

The charity sector is currently a difficult sector to work in; statutory funding has practically disappeared and rationalisation is the norm. I therefore want to pay tribute to our team of staff who continue striving to produce the best possible results for the many thousands who benefit from our services, events and facilities. I applaud the efforts of the London Irish Centre team and our almost 100 volunteers to improve the lives of so many of the Irish community in London.

We continue to work closely with Off to Work and rely heavily on their contribution as well as those from our other tenants and partners. This year saw further improvements to the building despite the fact that the Camden centre requires over £100,000 every year in day-to-day expenses before we even begin to budget for the many further serious infrastructural upgrades needed. Income generation at every level will be at the forefront of everything we do over the next few years as the charity will otherwise face increasingly difficult decisions.



In this financial year, we have had a significant deficit due to a combination of larger-than-expected funding cuts and increased building costs. Additionally we decided to maintain service level by drawing on reserves. Looking ahead, the charity has to be extremely disciplined in order to rebuild these reserves.


I am delighted to express my support and appreciation for the work done by the London Irish Centre over the last 12 months. The London Irish Centre plays a central role for the Irish community, whether through the welfare, information and advice services it provides to the more vulnerable members of the community or through its programme to encourage and promote Irish culture and heritage across London. The Irish community in Britain is a diverse and vibrant one, spanning all ages and backgrounds. Despite the 2

Having attended a number of team meetings I have seen and heard first-hand the tremendous work carried out by our dedicated staff, and I would like to acknowledge their efforts.

2014 marked our 60th anniversary and a time to reflect on the significance of the charity to the Irish community. The charity is the heart of the Irish community in London and, 60 years after opening, it continues to offer advice, education, outreach, support, arts and culture to Irish and non-Irish alike.

Once again, we are grateful for the continuing support of the Irish Government through the Emigrant Support Programme, without which many of our projects would cease entirely. Our many other funders and supporters are listed on pages 18-20.

The reopening of the Kennedy Hall as a community resource was a positive and significant event this year, increasing the scope and range of our activities. I would like to thank my fellow trustees: Bernadette Sexton, David Perkins, Treasurer Evan Long, Ian McKim, Kieran Ryan, Lyndsey Drea, Professor Mary Hickman and Seán Kennedy. Maeve Buckley stepped down in January and we appreciate all the time and effort she dedicated to the London Irish Centre.

We were very proud when Mary Allen, our first Honorary Life Member, was awarded the Presidential Distinguished Service Award for Community Support of the Irish Abroad at an awards ceremony in Áras an Uachtaráin hosted by Ministers Deenihan and Flanagan. The Ministers and the President spoke highly of both Mary and the work of the London Irish Centre. I am also very pleased to announce that Margaret Browne has been awarded the second Honorary Life Membership for her advocacy, fundraising and support of the charity over many years.

Our committee members have contributed significantly to our operations over the past 12 months. Thanks are due to Philip Fitzpatrick on our Building and Premises committee; Melanie Black, Brid Breathnach, Siobhan Kelly and Charlotte Curran on our Welfare committee; and Mary Hickman (Chair), Dylan Haskins, Lyndsey Drea, and John Nolan on our Arts committee.

David Barlow recently stepped down as Chief Executive and the Board wishes him the best in his next post. Looking forward, I anticipate working closely with our incoming CEO, Ian McLintock, who will take up his post in late 2015, and I wish him a sincere Ádh Mór Ort from myself and the Board.

We would be unable to provide many of our services without the wonderful contribution of our volunteers, providing both time and enthusiasm and an economic contribution valued at £320,852.50 this year. As the funding environment becomes tougher, the income from the centre itself is of increasing importance to our service provision. We are delighted to welcome Shumei as our newest tenants, and alongside the Chaplaincy, IEAN, NHS Luton and Off to Work the centre now provides a space where tens of thousands receive advice, support and entertainment in tandem with our own efforts. Our close partnership with Off to Work is vital both financially and operationally and of huge benefit to the charity.


many successes of the Irish diaspora, the Government is conscious of the need to support the most vulnerable and remains deeply committed to doing so. We are extremely appreciative of the role played by the London Irish Centre in providing such support and protection, and proud that Irish Government funding, through the Emigrant Support Programme, allows the charity to have such a substantial impact on the Irish community.

on the diaspora, makes clear that support for Irish emigrants’ welfare remains at the heart of our approach to diaspora issues. Finally, I would like to congratulate the London Irish Centre team on its achievements and I wish all staff the best for the year ahead.

As Ireland’s first Minister for Diaspora Affairs, I was particularly pleased to launch Global Irish: Ireland’s Diaspora Policy, in March this year. Global Irish, which is the first clear statement of the Government’s policy 3

Highlights The Minister for Diaspora Affairs Visits the LIC We were delighted to meet the new Minister for Diaspora Affairs, Mr. Jimmy Deenihan, at the London Irish Centre on 17 October. We had a terrific formal meeting with him where the LIC expressed its wish to work with his department to contribute to its success, thereby helping to ensure its renewal after the upcoming general election in Ireland.

Ceiliúradh – a Very Special Memory

The Minister went on to meet the Irish Chaplaincy and the IEAN, before meeting and greeting lunch guests and volunteers in the Day Centre. There have since been a number of follow-up contacts between the Embassy and the LIC.

A Successful Big Night Out On 6 March 2014, the London Irish Centre hosted a highly successful fundraising event, the Big Night Out. Jarleth Regan presided over the evening and entertainment was provided by Damien Dempsey, a consummate supporter of the London Irish Centre.

As many of you will know, April 2014 saw the first official state visit of an Irish President to the UK. We were delighted and honoured to play our part in the celebrations. As well as hosting a large conference entitled ‘Being Irish in Britain’, where a mix of respected speakers addressed issues of identity, community and culture, we were also asked to participate in ‘Ceiliúradh’, the cultural celebration at the Royal Albert Hall. Our arts team was asked for a way to contribute to the event programme with a representation of the Irish community in London and, together with the event programmers, developed the idea of a new Irish community choir. The choir, created from the community around our centre, included members aged eight to 88, Irish-born and subsequent generations and representatives from all 32 counties. The choir sang beautifully at the finale of the Royal Albert Hall event, on stage with leading stars such as Elvis Costello, Imelda May and Paul Brady. A very special memory for all involved, the performance can be found on YouTube by searching for ‘Ceiliúradh Parting Glass’.

‘The choir sang at the finale of the Royal Albert Hall event, on stage with leading stars such as Elvis Costello, Imelda May and Paul Brady.

£30,000 raised by the BIG NIGHT OUT for our work with the Irish community in London.



The Ambassador of Ireland to Great Britain, Dan Mulhall, attended and addressed the guests who came from Germany, Canada, England, Brazil, Japan, Syria, Israel, USA, France, Hungary and Poland among other places. Alongside first-class music and entertainment, there was also a raffle and live auction, the highlight of which was a signed Ed Sheeran guitar including a meet and greet. The Big Night Out raised £30,000 for London Irish Centre’s work with the Irish community in London.

Mary Allen Meets the President We were absolutely delighted that Mary Allen, currently the London Irish Centre’s sole Honorary Life Member and President of the Council of Irish Counties Association, received the Presidential Distinguished Service Award for Community Support of the Irish Abroad. Mary was one of ten award winners and the only Irish person from Britain to achieve the recognition this year. Mary invited David Barlow, our then CEO, to join her at Áras an Uachtaráin for the awards ceremony on 30 October. This was followed by a formal dinner hosted by Ministers Deenihan and Flanagan at Farmleigh House in Phoenix Park. Both Ministers and the President spoke highly of Mary as well as the work of the London Irish Centre.

Historic Kennedy Hall Re-Opened The Kennedy Hall came back into Irish Community use for the first time in 10 years.


Advice & Outreach


The London Irish Centre offers advice and information to thousands of Irish people across London. We do this through drop-in information and advice services in our Camden, Kilburn and West Kensington offices, advice clinics in Ealing and Wimbledon, and outreach services provided by workers in the community, visiting vulnerable people in their own homes. An appointment service is offered at all three sites, and advice is also given over the telephone and by email.

Welfare Sub-Committee

Case Study: John

The London Irish Centre Welfare Committee ensures that services are working to the highest professional standards and in line with good practice, and that appropriate measures are being taken to ensure that the centre meets its responsibility in terms of duty of care.

Recent welfare reforms in the UK have hit the most vulnerable in society. Our advice services have experienced significantly increased demand but are facing the challenges of fewer resources, less funding and growing problems caused by administrative delays in the benefits system.

The London Irish Centre was granted two-year funding from Camden Council under the Equalities and Cohesion Fund Round 2 to support online access to benefits for the community in Camden through capacity building. With the UK Government’s target to have 80% of claims made online by 2017, the London Irish Centre recognised the need for upskilling existing and potential claimants on managing new and ongoing claims online in order to allow increased independence. The project offers four-week modules aimed at developing participants’ skills in navigating the benefits system online. The target group for the project is vulnerable adults of pre-retirement age living in Camden.

The London Irish Centre welfare service was paid a visit by the neighbour of an 84-year-old gentleman. The neighbour reported that the man, John, originally from Cork, was in need of assistance as he was suffering from severe Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), lived alone and had no carers. When our outreach worker arrived at John’s flat, she noticed that his medication had run out and his nebuliser did not appear to be working properly. Paramedics were dispatched and John was admitted to a local hospital. It turned out that John had lost his wife two years previously and was missing her tremendously.

Access in a Time of Change

Over the past year, the London Irish Centre has assisted the Irish community with advice on welfare benefits, housing, moving to London, repatriation, form filling, and applications for passports and birth certificates. 4,284 clients presented on a face-to-face basis, and we assisted many more over the telephone and via email. Our booklet, ‘Moving to London: A practical companion for Irish people’, has been downloaded over 8,000 times, and our website’s welfare pages receive the same number of hits every month.

Coaching and Mentoring The London Irish Centre was approved for funding from the SIA campaign of the Irish Bishops’ Council for Emigrants in May 2014. Funding was awarded with a twofold purpose: firstly, to provide individual and group coaching, and secondly, to provide an educational programme, both offered to survivors of institutional abuse.

Our work is categorised into information, advice, casework/advocacy and representation. Casework made up 75% of our work in 2014-15, and we assisted clients at appeals. The five most common issues our clients presented with over the past year were general benefit queries, housing, pensions, including Irish pensions, returning to Ireland, and grants and finance. Our assistance has helped clients increase their income through benefits they were entitled to, resulting in wider economic and social benefits such as improvements in health, wellbeing and participation. When we can’t help directly, we make the necessary referrals and signpost to other services, including mental health services and alcohol support, to ensure that our clients’ needs are met.

The outcomes of the project were: improved social and emotional support networks for survivors; reduced levels of mental ill health through provision of resilience-based activities and referrals to counselling; reduced levels of anxiety, stress and isolation; and appropriate access to mainstream services such as benefits, housing, debt and health advice.

the amount of our work made up of casework

8,000 the number of hits our website’s welfare pages receive every month

4,284 the number of clients presenting on a face-to-face basis

The outreach worker advocated for John while he was at the hospital and requested assessments for a home care package when he was discharged. She was also able to speak to his GP and local chemist to ensure that his medication was provided on time and delivered to his home. She arranged for a long-term care package to be provided by the community social services team when the six-week temporary hospital home care package ceased, and the hospital provided a new nebuliser and specialist COPD nurse to visit John at home.

8,000+ the number of times our booklet, ‘Moving to London: A practical companion for Irish people’, has been downloaded

John is now back home and has carers regularly helping him with all his home care needs. His medication is provided by the GP and sent to the local chemist for delivery straight to John. Our outreach worker visits John regularly and has referred him to our befriending services. She is also currently looking into his welfare benefits to ensure that he receives all his entitlements, and has made sure that the carers book hospital transport for his follow-up outpatient appointments. John is now much more comfortable in his home environment and fully linked in to appropriate services.

Quality Mark

The London Irish Centre’s advice team resolves practical issues with a deep sense of awareness of and sensitivity to the issues around migration and shared history and experience. There has always been a strong element of emotional support in what we do, and this sets the London Irish Centre apart from UK statutory advice services.

The centre received the Advice Quality Standard (AQS) mark of quality for independent advice organisations in July 2014. The AQS report stated that “it was a pleasure to audit such a conscientious organisation with an overwhelming commitment to their service users and the essential work they carry out”.



Wellbeing The Day Centre

Social Groups

Case Study: Patrick

In January 2015, the Day Centre moved into the Kennedy Hall, much to the delight of our service users. The Kennedy Hall is a bright, warm and friendly space, the perfect location for our Day Centre. Many of those attending the Day Centre were involved in painting the hall decades ago in the centre’s rich community history.

For members of the older Irish community, who may not be able to travel to the Day Centre in Camden, we run social groups, essentially bringing the Day Centre out into the community. Social group clients are also referred to the LIC’s other services, including our advice service, educational programmes and befriending service. The London Irish Centre operates five social groups across London.

Patrick lives alone and has no next-of-kin in the UK. He has a moderate learning disability and a speech impediment and finds expressing himself difficult. After he retired he said he was completely alone, looking at the four walls of his sheltered housing flat and only leaving the house to eat in the café opposite him. He said he felt very lonely and, aged 66, didn’t know how to make a friend.

The Day Centre continues to promote and facilitate good physical, emotional and social wellbeing. With the move to the Kennedy Hall, we have been able to increase our numbers and are actively looking for more Irish people over the age of 55 who could benefit from the project. The Day Centre encompasses a broad range of activities, including: ›  homemade, nutritious and comforting meals; › free, gentle chair-based exercise; ›  activities to stimulate the mind, such as bingo, quiz and memory games; › art classes run by Westminster Kingsway College; › conversation group, as Gaeilge; › fortnightly tea dance; › health promotion workshops; › day trips. In partnership with Camden Council, we also offer ten places a week for people with a diagnosis of dementia at a moderate level. We work closely with carers, drivers and sheltered-housing staff to ensure that they are looked after for the day. We liaise regularly with carers, social workers, mental health support workers, outreach workers and service users’ next of kin. We also offer support with terminal illness, advocating for people when their care package or hospital discharge plans are not supporting them enough.












Patrick originally came to the advice service at the London Irish Centre for assistance with his pension but was referred by the team to the Day Centre. He now attends every day and has made a group of friends. The Day Centre is the main social outlet for him and the place where he has his main meal every day. Patrick now joins in with the quiz and is comfortable talking to new people. The team referred Patrick to one of our outreach workers, who assisted Patrick with some of the difficulties he was having with housing, and the modifications needed for his disability. A successful bid was made to the Benevolent Society of Saint Patrick, administered by LIC, so that Patrick could buy a fridge.

‘I’m a carer for my husband who has dementia, and my son has Down’s syndrome, so it’s lovely to have some time for me. I’ve made some friends and there are two women from my town here. I started to do the dance class and I’m loving it. I brought my son on the last trip, which was lovely – everyone has been very friendly.’

‘We have fun here and we’ve all got a story to tell, but it is a sort of lifeline really. It’s important to be a part of something when you retire. The classes keep my brain ticking and it’s lovely when you walk in and the friendly faces are there waiting for you.’

Through the social groups, the LIC can create a community that supports older Irish people, celebrating their culture and traditions while also supporting good physical and emotional wellbeing.






of our clients said they had more friends thanks to our services.

said their health had improved since attending our services.

said they felt less isolated since attending our services.

said coming to our services encouraged them to undertake other social activities.

said that attending our services made them feel part of a supportive community.



Volunteering Missing Persons Service

The London Irish Centre’s volunteers are crucial to our work, and they have been since the charity’s foundation. In 2014-15 we had 122 people volunteering with us across 26 different roles, providing 428 volunteering hours every week, totalling over 170,000 a year and an economic value of an estimated £320,852.50 annually.

The London Irish Centre offers a missing persons service through the Personal Demographics Service at the Health & Social Care Centre. Our Missing Persons project received 34 applications in 2014-15, and we were successful in locating four of the missing people. Unfortunately, one person was found to have passed away and 29 cases are still progressing.

Volunteers support the charity in many roles, from receptionists and Day Centre workers to befrienders, arts assistants, tea dance assistants, trustees and employability advice officers.

Kerry Holiday

Volunteering Events

Kerry Emigrant Support (KES) organises a yearly holiday to Kerry in partnership with the LIC for older people who could not make the trip alone. This holiday took place in April 2014. 31 clients aged 55-78 attended the trip.

During the first quarter, our arts department, wellbeing services and befriending service hosted a number of socials for the volunteer team to foster positive team engagement. The volunteer summer social, a meal at an Italian restaurant in Highgate, took place in early September and was attended by around 20 volunteers from across all services. 30 volunteers made it to our Christmas social, which was held at a restaurant near Russell Square.

Outcomes ›  A survivor of institutional abuse was supported to return to Ireland, enabling him to resolve internal conflicts in relation to his childhood in Ireland.

We also arranged a number of in-house volunteer workshop training sessions, including:

›  An elderly man with a learning disability, whose partner had passed away, was supported with a small grant for clothing for the holiday.

›  Older Adults and Alcohol Abuse in partnership with Aisling › 

›  A man with alcohol dependency who lives in temporary housing was supported to reconnect with his family whilst on holiday.

Safeguarding Older Adults in-house training

›  Dementia Awareness with a Dementia Ambassador

›  Two clients began attending the London Irish Centre’s Day Centre on return from the holiday.

Volunteers also attended Camden Council training on conflict resolution and personal safety, safeguarding and information technology.

Befriending Service The Befriending Service saw 70 people across several boroughs in 2014-15. Alongside a project manager, a research volunteer researched the Camden-run Befriending Service, covering the Camden, Islington and Brent boroughs. These were the key findings from the research: ›  Service users very much enjoyed having someone to talk to, something to look forward to and practical support. ›  The majority of clients were either increasing their independence or maintaining the status quo, which is positive in regards to the client group and meets one of the core aims of the service. ›  The enrichment of someone’s life through befriending was found to be important not only to the service users through friendship and practical task support, but also to the volunteers, who highlighted that they too get something from the relationship through being reminded not to take their life for granted, enjoying the difference they can make to an older person’s life, end learning from someone else’s life experience. ›  In general, volunteers felt that they were well supported by the London Irish Centre in relation to communication, line management support, social activities and advice and flexibility. 10

64% felt more connected to the Irish community due to having a befriender

“Having a friend visit me every week, it is wonderful, having a visitor to talk to. She tells me about her news and I tell her mine. I feel less lonely. I look forward to her visits. I could be down in the week and the thought that an Irish girl is coming to see me makes me feel better.” Mary, 85 11

Arts & Culture It’s been a busy year for our arts team. Led by the Drector of Arts, Gary Dunne, the small team of staff, volunteers and artists delivered a diverse mix of Irish arts events and activities. The year began with the historic first ever official state visit of an Irish President to the UK, as President Michael D Higgins came to London. We marked the occasion by hosting a sold-out ‘Being Irish in Britain’ conference, where a mix of speakers addressed issues of identity, community and culture. We were also honoured to close the magnificent ‘Ceiliúradh’ concert at the Royal Albert Hall. In a period of just three weeks, we created a community choir of Irish in London, which joined Irish music stars and celebrities to sing out The Parting Glass at the event’s finale – a memorable and magical occasion for all involved. Through the year, music was central to the programme. We hosted wonderful concerts from Liam Ó’Maonlaí, John Spillane, Dervish, Sharon Shannon, Brian Kennedy and Damien Dempsey to name but a few. Damien was also kind enough to play a fundraiser for our work at the iconic Shepherd’s Bush Empire. Old festival friends returned too, with bigger and better offerings. The flagship Return to Camden Town Festival welcomed thousands of people to a world-class experience of traditional Irish music, song and dance. Gaelic Voices Festival celebrated both established and emerging singers in our ancient language. There was much laughter too, mainly through an excellent series of Edinburgh Preview events, where we worked with the London Irish Comedy Festival (LICF) in bringing the best Irish comedy to London. Of course Tedfest, back in July, was a huge, sold-out celebration of Irish fun. We’d also like to extend a special thanks to Irish comedian Aisling Bea, who, in partnership with LICF, created and hosted ‘The Big Dishgo’, which was not


only great craic but also raised almost £10,000 for our charity’s work. Go raibh maith agaibh.

We also provided marketing, programming and event support to a mix of off-site Irish events in London, enhancing our strong reputation as a hub for all things Irish culture in London. We deal with requests ranging from ‘Where can I buy an Irish dancing dress?’ to ‘Let’s run a big Irish event in the West End together!’ on a daily basis.

During this year, the charity established a new Arts Committee as a sub-committee of the Board, which will work with the arts team in developing, enhancing and monitoring the charity’s arts output. Thanks to all members and to Chair Mary Hickman.

We partnered with carefully-selected literary events and festivals, such as the London Short Story Festival and the Lingo Spoken Word Festival, both of which bring the cream of Irish creative talent to new audiences.

2014-15 also saw significant progress on our Irish library project, with the recruitment of a team of volunteers who are working hard to catalogue the books in the library’s new home in the historic Kennedy Hall.

Of course 2014 was the 60th anniversary of our great centre. As well as marking it with a huge community celebration in our Camden home, we worked with RTÉ Archives and the Irish in Britain Archive to create both a historic film and a beautiful exhibition of 60 photos from the centre’s history. Thanks to James McDonald for the support.

Highlight Snapshots: › 

A new Arts Committee


£10,000 raised through ‘The Big Dishgo’ alone

St. Patrick’s Day 2015 was one of our biggest yet. We of course hosted a big day of community, craic and culture at the centre itself, but we also participated in the London parade and festival, where our staff, volunteers and friends brought great Irish community spirit to the party.

›  Live shows with acts such as Damien Dempsey and Sharon Shannon ›  Fun and craic with Tedfest and the London Irish Comedy Festival › 

60th anniversary celebrations


Our biggest St. Patrick’s Day to date


Literary and spoken word events and festivals


‘Ceiliúradh’ and the Presidental visit


Countless community group events

Finally, the thank yous. To our funders, the Irish government’s Emigrant Support Programme and Culture Ireland – thank you for helping us to promote Ireland and support the Irish in this great city. To the artists and audiences who have made or attended our programme, we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.

In addition to the programme, which we manage directly, we also host hundreds of events from Irish community and cultural groups through the year. From book clubs to music schools, Irish dance workshops to county association meetings, film screenings to seannós singing sessions, you are all very welcome.

Thanks also to Sliced Events for helping us to deliver a great events programme, and to musician Ed Sheeran for his generous support of our ‘Big Night Out’ fundraiser. Please visit www.londonirishcentre.org for details of upcoming events.






people connected to our online communities

books being catalogued in our new Library

community groups provided with free space to host events

rating the Damien Dempsey concert as ‘excellent’ in an audience survey

rating for staff friendliness in an audience survey at a summer theatre run



Venue Hire


This year marked our fourth as proud partners to the London Irish Centre charity. As ever, we’ve been thrilled to continue working closely with our charity colleagues to assist in the planning and execution of numerous events, including the ever successful ‘Big Night Out’ charity fundraiser and the fortnightly Irish pensioners’ tea dance, as well as the many community groups supporting Irish culture and welfare.

We are also dedicated to improving the standards of the venue for both clients booking space and those needing support from the charity. This year, we welcomed our new venue manager, Andrew Murray, whose venue background and Irish roots have helped him quickly set about increasing our cultural offerings with Irish whiskey tasting sessions, regular Irish rugby events at our Hub bar, and much more planned for the future.

We’ve also had a highly successful year, offering our services to commercial clients old and new, and are delighted to have hosted four private weddings and over 20 corporate conferences at the centre in 2015. From our commercial activities, 6.25% of the profit from catering and on the bar goes back to the London Irish Centre charity with an additional contribution being ring-fenced for improvements to the building. We are delighted to be increasing our contribution year on year to help with the valuable services our charity partners so passionately offer.

Since partnering with the London Irish Centre in October 2011, we have helped the charity in redeveloping the venue with major works to the building and its facilities. In May 2015 we commenced work on our most ambitious project to date: the refurbishment of the front facade of the venue. Building on over 60 years of service to the Irish community in London, it is fitting that the face of this beautiful, historic venue was restored to its original splendour, just in time for our summer weddings!

It is undoubtedly true that our people form the heart of the London Irish Centre. Our staff, volunteers and trustees, who are also volunteers, work tirelessly to ensure that we continue to provide an exemplary service across all areas of our work. We would like to thank them for their energy, enthusiasm and time in the past year.

Our Board

With a growing number of events and conferences relying on internet access for presentations and streaming of live data, we upgraded to 100mb download speed broadband, with access to free and fast Wi-Fi in all suites. Since launching our upgraded service, we have been pleased to experience a substantial increase in the number of corporate clients interested in using the venue for live streaming and video conferencing events.

‘It is fitting that the face of this beautiful, historic venue was restored to its original splendour’

Bernadette Sexton

David Perkins

Dermot Murphy – Chair

Evan Long – Treasurer

Ian McKim

Kieran Ryan

Lyndsey Drea

Prof. Mary Hickman

Sean Kennedy – Acting CEO

Angela O’Sullivan Outreach Worker

Aoife Walshe Director of Welfare

Cath Coleman Advice & Outreach Officer

All the team at Sliced Events is looking forward to working with you again in 2016.

Our Staff Team



Our Volunteers

Our Staff Team continued

Carole Fox Wellbeing Officer

Helen Mannion Online Advice Worker

Dane Buckley Wellbeing Service Manager

Frances Whelan Advice & Outreach Officer

Marcella Doyle Advice & Outreach Officer

Margaret Kiely Administrator

Sarah Goodall Volunteer Service Manager

Mary Gleeson Advice & Outreach Officer

Tracey Kemp Day Centre Cook


Gary Dunne Director of Arts

Maria Connolly Wellbeing Officer

Rupal Acharya Finance Officer

Ailbhe Ni Earrain

Denis Connolly

Luke Callinan

Padraig Neary

Alison O’Brien

Dermott Murphy

Maeve Buckley

Rachel Daly

Ann Walsh

Edivige Oliveira

Maeve Groghan

Rita Murphy

Anne Campbell

Eileen McMahon

Maire Duckett

Rory McKenna

Anthony Palmer

Elaine Kealy

Margaret O’Connor

Rose Haddow

Bea Gaunt

Eleanor O’Connell

Marguerite Mason

Ruairi O’Neill

Bernadette Lawlor

Emma Twomey

Maria Loftus

Rumana Begum

Breda Cornish

Emer Kelly

Marie burke

Ryan McCann

Breda Sullivan

Evan Long

Marie McMorrow

Sean Kennedy

Brid Breathnach

Faiza Ibrahim

Marion Esfandiari

Sarah Colclough

Bernadette Nestor

Fiona Marie Rae

Marion Faith - Fraser

Sarah Horgan

Caiomhe Anderson

Francesca Neal

Mary McDonagh

Sean O’Brien

Catherine Phelan

Geraldine O’Regan

Shona O’Donoghue

Cathy Berrie

Geraldine Williams

May Christina Geasley Scherding

Catriona Conway

Gina Cavalzani

Charmaine Doherty

Heidi Murphy

Charlotte Curran

Ian McKim

Ciara Holland

Iria Rio

Clare Gordon

James Ryan

Cliodhna O’Connor

Jane Austin

Clive McCrory

Janet Donaghey

Colin Sheehan

Jennifer Stacey

Colum Lawlor

Jer O’Mahony

Colum Carty

Jo Kimber

Conor Doolan

Julia Howard (Sister)

Damian Kehoe

Katrina Byrne

Daire Fitzharris

Ken Mulkearn

David Claxton

Kathryn Lillis

David Perkins

Levi Hepp

Declan Becton

Louise Nolan

Melanie Black Michael Bourke Michael Cronin Michael Young Niamh Doyle Nicole McNeilly Nick Beard Nicole Charlet Noel burke1 Noleen Duncan Orion Fitzsimmons Patricia (Pat) Doherty Patricia (Pat) Green Patricia (Pat) Leonard Patrick Roper Patrick Sheehan

Sharon Michaelson Sharon Donnelly Sinead O’Leary Sinead Sweeney Sinead Nevin Siobhan Grant Stephen Quigley Susan Gallivan Tom O’Neill Vanessa Robinson Will Finn Dermott Murphy Lyndsey Drea Bernadette Sexton Kieran Ryan Professor Mary Hickman

‘In 2014-15 we had 122 people volunteering with us across 26 different roles, providing 428 volunteering hours every week, totalling over 170,000 a year and an economic value of an estimated £320,852.50 annually.’

Yolanda Keogh Advice & Outreach Officer



Fundraising Income Generation We would like to thank Allied Irish Bank for their kind donation towards the costs of our annual report. The London Irish Centre charity depends on a wide mix of income sources to fund the many projects we deliver.

Building Income

Donors and Friends

Our Camden centre is part freehold and part long leasehold. The iconic building requires over £100,000 per annum for maintenance, and together with Off to Work we have spent over £200,000 in the past four years on refurbishment, from the visible, such as redecorations, to the hidden, including new boilers. On the plus side, income from the building has risen from £65,000 in 2010 to £235,639 in 2015.

We would like to pay tribute to Mrs. Margaret Browne, a tireless supporter and fundraiser for the socially excluded in Ireland, also devoting her time to raising funds for the London Irish Centre. A very special thanks to Paul Hastings LLP, whose pro-bono legal advice has saved the charity tens of thousands of pounds over the past couple of years. To Hannah Keever, whose grandfather was a regular visitor to the Centre, and who chaired the pro-bono committee that agreed to our inclusion in their programme; to Danielle Hirsch, who has carried out a great deal of the legal work, and barrister Tom Jeffries, who provided valuable contract advice. The value of this pro-bono work is approximately £65,000 since mid-2013.

Fundraising › 

The Big Night Out

Our second ‘Big Night Out’ was a huge success – a wonderful, positive, fun night where business and community supporters helped us raise over £30,000. We would like to thank Ed Sheeran, Damien Dempsey, Jarleth Regan, Tourism Ireland, O’Donovan Waste, Metro Bank, Ryanair, Simon Clarke, Innisfree Housing, Avondale Construction, McGrath Group, Moreland Investments, Off to Work, Pauric Sweeny, Blossoms Healthcare, Peter Monaghan, Josie McGeady and Mary Allen.

Grants Buildings Fundraising Other

We would also like to thank the Council of Irish Counties Association, Bugler Developments, the London Irish Rugby Club and the hundreds of individuals who have supported us through Just Giving, personal donations, raffles, bucket collections and membership.

›  The Big Dishgo Held in October, this comedy night raised over £9,000 for our youth work. Huge thanks to Maria Schweppe, Aisling Bea, David O’Doherty, Chewy Chewerson, Rob Broderick, James Hancox, Sam Wilson and all who attended. ›   The Christmas Appeal Our December appeal raised over £4,000 for our work with the elderly.

Grant Income › 

E SP: Our largest grant is given by Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Emigrant Support Programme (ESP). This totalled £500,000 aimed at three areas of our work: £290,000 towards Irish Elderly Projects, £180,000 towards Community Welfare and £30,000 towards Irish Arts & Culture. We are very grateful for the continued support from the Irish Government, particularly at a time when many in Ireland have been suffering economic hardship. This support is vital for the continuation of the charity’s projects.


The London Borough of Camden


The London Borough of Hammersmith


The Irish Episcopal Council of Emigrants


The Irish Youth Foundation


Culture Ireland


The Benevolent Society of St. Patrick

The charity wishes to thank these organisations for their generous funding and support.



The Finances FUNDING

Contact Us







HEAD OFFICE 50–52 Camden Square, London NW1 9XB PHONE 020 7916 2222 FAX 020 7916 2638 EMAIL info@londonirishcentre.org CLOSEST TUBE Camden Town (Northern line) CLOSEST TRAIN Camden Road (Overground) PARKING Metered parking is available directly outside BUSES The 29, 253, 274 (Murray Street stop)

Net Incoming Resources



Balances Carried Forward



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OPENING HOURS (Advice drop-in) By appointment only Monday Tuesday 9.30am – 12.30pm and 2.00pm – 4.00pm Wednesday 2.00pm – 4.00pm Thursday 9.30am – 12.30pm and 2.00pm – 4.00pm Friday 9.30am – 12.30pm

ay W

Total Resources Expended

£1,056,484 d

Management, Administration and Cultural


A400 Kentish Town Roa

Direct Charitable Expenditure

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Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Emigrant Support Programme £500,000 £557,000

Camden Road Overground

Camden Road Tube











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to West Hampstead



KILBURN OFFICE 14a Quex Road, London NW6 4PL PHONE 020 7372 4389 EMAIL kilburn@londonirishcentre.org

Kilburn Grande Park



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to Kilburn



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OPENING HOURS By appointment only

WEST LONDON OFFICE Avonmore Library and Neighbourhood Centre 7 North End Crescent, London W14 8TG PHONE 020 8741 0466 FAX 020 8741 0991 EMAIL licwest@londonirishcentre.org

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stone R oad


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Ed ith

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Talgarth R oa


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Gliddon Road Barons Court



7 B31


Ro ad


Fundraising Events £40,830 £38,955 Total Fundraising

Ab be y




dC res ce

Individual Donations


CLOSEST TUBE West Hampstead or Kilburn (Jubilee line) CLOSEST TRAIN Kilburn High Rd (Overground) BUSES 16, 31 and 98



10 B5

to Kilburn Overground


W es


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Total Assests less Liabilities



Net Current Assets



tC Wes

CLOSEST TUBE West Kensington (District line) BUSES 28 and 391 (Lytton Estate stop on North End Road)




R well

OPENING HOURS Drop-in advice Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 10.00 – 12.30

West Kensington

EVENTS & VENUE HIRE 50–52 Camden Square, London NW1 9XB PHONE 020 7916 2222 EMAIL venuehire@slicedevents.com




Registered Charity No. 1149787. Company No. 8221421.



Profile for London Irish Centre

London Irish Centre Annual Report 14-15  

London Irish Centre Annual Report 14-15