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Welcome to the London Irish Centre’s Annual Review for 2011/2012

It’s difficult to get a real feel on paper for the enormous amount of positive activity that has taken place in the period that this review covers. Hopefully the reports, pictures, statistics and case stories in this review will give you at least a taste of what’s been happening over the twelve months of the last financial year. Founded in 1954 to support the needs of newly arriving Irish emigrants in London, the London Irish Centre (LIC) has developed into the largest Irish organisation in Britain. While many things have changed since then, the work of the LIC is as important today as it was at its inception. We are a diverse and vibrant organisation with a very dedicated team of staff, volunteers and trustees who continue to adapt to the changing needs of the Irish community in London. You will read in the welfare section about how our accredited advice and day services support thousands of individuals each year.

We proudly fly the Irish flag in the heart of London… During the past year, we have built on our reputation for promoting the arts by providing one of the most diverse programmes of Irish cultural events in Britain. The culture and arts section highlights the great music we have staged and drama productions, art exhibitions, poetry recitals and Irish book and film clubs. If you fancy learning something new, we also offer Irish language, music and dance classes, and if you’re looking to keep fit and meet fellow sports fans, you may want to sign up with our GAA football team. Our Camden premises have also developed over the decades and now boast a range of refurbished public areas, from small meeting rooms to the 450-capacity McNamara function suite. If you’re looking for the perfect place to host a special event, find out more in the venue hire section on pages 14-15 in this review. It wasn’t until 1995 that the first tricolour was hastily tied to the building a few minutes before the visit of President Mary Robinson. Today, we proudly fly the Irish flag, taking our rightful place in the heart of London and remaining very much a home away from home for all things Irish in one of the greatest and most diverse cities in the world. We hope that you’ll enjoy this review, and if you haven’t visited before or the months or years have passed since we last saw you, come and see us – you’ll always be very welcome indeed. The London Irish Centre

A Message from the Chair we work to create a modern and contemporary centre that will play host to an ever-expanding cultural and arts programme.

The London Irish Centre will continue to offer advice and support, culture and community, and to be a home away from home for everyone who needs us.

Seán Kennedy Chair of the board of trustees

Imagine life without change. It would be static … boring … dull. Dr. Dennis O’Grady

One thing is certain at the London Irish Centre: life will never be dull. Walk into the day centre, pay a visit to the welfare offices, or wander around the main building on any evening of the week, and you’ll find our clients and guests engaged in learning and living, improving and helping, eating and chatting, singing and dancing. It’s a wonderful, vibrant and exciting place where this year once again we welcomed well in excess of 50,000 people through our doors.


Our most eminent visitor was of course President Michael D. Higgins, who during the course of his address complimented the refurbishment of the centre: a refurbishment which is the most visible outcome of our new partnership with Off to Work, who will manage the catering, conference and bar facilities until 2021. The building has benefited from a much-needed upgrade, and this is just phase one. Over the next few years we hope to be in a position to improve the kitchens, toilets and upper floors, as well as the exterior of the building, as

Our welfare service is experiencing increasing demand, as statutory capacity declines and our traditional client base ages. In addition, a larger percentage of clients now have more complex requirements, which places a heavy burden on resources. However, our dedicated staff and volunteers are rising to this challenge with a more targeted approach and the roll-out of new services. Our objectives for this coming year will be tied into David and the team’s forthcoming three-year strategic plan, and a key ambition is to support its implementation. Within that plan, the board’s main objectives are: to conclude the creation of a new constitution to complete the merger with the Irish Charitable Trust (formerly trading as ISAS) to increase the number of trustees on our board to 10 to improve the effectiveness of the board through our sub-committee structure I am often asked what exactly a trustee does, and while each charity board works in its own way, I’m quietly confident that few are as active and engaged as our trustees. Apart from regular board meetings, we also have a number of more

specialised sub-committees with one or two trustees contributing to each. Additionally, trustees are involved in advising, representing, and promoting the charity, and I’d like to acknowledge the time and efforts of Mary Allen, Jude Bissert, Fr. Paul Byrne, Philip Fitzpatrick, Jim Quinn, Ian Mc Kim, Evan Long, and our legal advisor, Jarleth Burke, who collectively have volunteered in excess of 1,000 hours of generous support during the year. Once again, we’ve been greatly supported by the Irish Government’s Emigrant Support Programme. Without this funding the centre would be unlikely to survive, and as the number of new Irish emigrants to London rapidly increases, the need for this funding and the work it supports is obvious. We’re also extremely grateful for the support of our many other funders and supporters, who are listed on pages 17-18. I’d further like to extend a thank you to David Barlow and all the staff, to our patrons, Bill Durkan and Sir Adrian Fitzgerald, and special thanks to the wonderful team of volunteers who give so much time and energy to the charity. No twelve months ever seem to be the same at the London Irish Centre, and I’m sure that the next twelve will be as exciting and rewarding as the previous. Each new year is unpredictable too – though there’s one prediction that I can confidently make, and that is that the London Irish Centre will continue to offer advice and support, culture and community, and to be a home away from home for everyone who needs us. Seán Kennedy

A Message from the Chief Executive government departments in Ireland, who themselves face enormous challenges to commission services with far less cash.

I very sincerely thank all our funders, new and old, especially the people of Ireland who support us via the Emigrant Support Programme.

David Barlow Chief Executive

I assure you that we’ll continue to provide effective, relevant and efficient services and activities to the Irish community in London. I’ve now had the great privilege of leading the organisation for my first full year, and it’s amazing how much can happen in a few short but very exciting months! In last year’s review, I commented on the fact that we were facing a time of significant change and potential challenge. Both have certainly been true, but we have responded well. The financial year covered by this review has been of particular significance to the development of our services and setting the groundwork to make us strong and sustainable in difficult economic times. To ensure that the LIC remains relevant to the Irish community in future years, especially with the increasing number of young emigrants, it’s been essential to review everything we offer. In addition, we needed to quickly diversify our funding base to be less reliant on our traditional funders, the local authority and

I’m delighted to say that a refreshed culture of bid writing and general fundraising has developed, and this in turn led to a significant increase in our income from new sources, helping to cover cuts elsewhere. Much of this valuable work was led by the Director of Welfare, Jeff Moore, on top of his already large workload. One successful bid was particularly important as it allowed us to employ a Development Manager who will continue to work, on a full-time basis, to further diversify and strengthen our funds. I very sincerely thank all our funders, new and old, especially the people of Ireland who support us via the Emigrant Support Programme, and I assure you that we’ll continue to provide effective, relevant and efficient services and activities to the Irish community in London. From October 2012, the organisation will be working to a new strategic plan. This has been developed to shape not just our services, but all aspects of what we do, including marketing, fundraising, resource development, quality and sustainability. A considerable part of the year was spent working towards completing the plan, which is fresh and people-focused. Taking into account all the things that are important to us, in particular some of our highly valued services, it also highlights the importance of developing new services to ensure that we remain relevant today and into the future. One such area will be the increase in services

for younger Irish people, and I’m very pleased about our new formal partnership with the Amy Winehouse Foundation, which will support our work in this area. It’s also been a year of substantial financial investment for the future. Very few visitors will have failed to notice the much-needed refurbishments that have taken place. Alongside the redecoration of the main bar, corridor, McNamara and Presidential suites, building work was carried out to add a new entrance to the Presidential suite, vastly improving access to events. These very visual changes have created a warm, professional and welcoming environment for all of us. However, the less visual has been of equal importance. Nearly £60,000 was spent on the ancient heating system, including a new boiler, which had been on its last legs for several years, as part of a complete overhaul. In addition, the air conditioning has been refurbished and all the 40-yearold drainage pipes upgraded, and our welfare clients and staff have benefited from a new, more professional reception area. While many people prefer not to hear about costs, I feel it’s relevant to mention that it costs the charity well over £100,000 in a normal year to keep the building safe, warm and leak-free, for which we don’t receive a penny or cent in funding. Finally, it’s been a year of much celebration. You can read more about this year’s highlights on the next page. I believe that, together, we have achieved a great deal; but the journey has only begun, and we have plenty more to do. Please join me and my dedicated team of staff and volunteers alongside our trustees as we continue a positive and rewarding journey in the coming years. David Barlow


Highlights of the Year President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, visits the London Irish Centre on February 21st 2012

In addition to more visual improvements like the aforementioned refurbishments of the London Irish Centre premises and a complete overhaul of the charity’s brand and website, it’s been a year of much celebration and many highlights. The partnership with Off to Work, the results of which you can read more about on pages 14-15, has been integral to many of these events, and is certainly a highlight in its own right.


Mindful of the importance of strong partnership work, the LIC has also teamed up with the Federation of Irish Societies to strengthen the capabilities and impact of our cultural and welfare services. We have also run partnership projects with The British Museum and other local arts and community organisations. In addition, the new partnership with the Amy Winehouse Foundation, which will support our increased focus on services for younger Irish people, made the centre’s first ever Christmas tree lighting event an unforgettable evening of mulled wine and carols, with Amy’s dad Mitch lighting the tree, making a speech and contributing a few songs. Our new, improved venue has been busier than ever. The St. Patrick’s Festival became a hugely successful sell-out weekend, and both the Presidential and the McNamara suites were buzzing as we screened the Ireland vs. England rugby match while serving up

traditional Irish food and drinks. Our education courses and book and exhibition launches also attracted great crowds, all benefiting from the installation of a brand new gallery infrastructure. Our regular tea dances and Irish business dinners continue to grow in popularity. Last but not least, we had the great honour of welcoming President Michael D. Higgins to the centre on his first foreign visit in his capacity as Ireland’s Head of State in February. Joined by his wife Sabina Coyne and the Irish ambassador Bobby McDonagh, he spoke about Ireland’s historic links with the Camden area and committed that his Presidency would continue to support our work with the new wave of Irish emigrants. With continued and increased endorsement of our welfare services from the Community Legal Services and a steadily growing community of Irish arts fans both at our physical venue and online, we are confident that the hard work of the 2011/2012 financial year will continue to inspire exciting times ahead. Keep an eye on our website to make sure not to miss any of the highlights that might make it into this section of next year’s review!

Welfare Welfare Services that Save Lives We have been told on more than one occasion that our welfare services save lives. Working with an increasing number of clients in crisis during what has been the busiest period for the centre since the wave of emigration in the 1950s, there is no doubt that this is true. As other services close, the recession continues, and migration from Ireland increases, more and more individuals are presenting with multiple issues. This year we worked with more clients in priority debt, who are threatened by homelessness or who have complex mental health needs than any other since the 1950’s. The strong reputation of the welfare services at the London Irish Centre means that vulnerable Irish people are referred to us by a range of agencies for essential, life-saving support and advice. This year alone, we have prevented homelessness and supported individuals through life-threatening situations on numerous occasions. In total this year our welfare services have assisted with 17,688 inquiries. As demonstrated by the wide range of quality assurance accreditations held by our welfare services, we strive to continuously improve and adapt to the needs of vulnerable Irish people in London. This year we have developed a professional telephone and email advice service and after a thorough consultation process improved our offer for survivors of institutional abuse to include educational and learning opportunities.

Advice on Housing, Benefits and Debt The London Irish Centre’s advice service is run by the centre’s in-house team, which was recently awarded the Community Legal Services Quality Mark, and aims to improve the income, housing options and life chances of vulnerable Irish people in London.

…a palpable sense of mission and confidence… Our front-line advice staff are often the first point of contact for individuals in need of assistance, and the service also provides support and information for those considering moving to London or returning to Ireland, as well as those people who need help in accessing other welfare services. Our advice service gets a high volume of both self-referrals and referrals from emergency departments like community mental health teams and the A&E, and this year we have seen a substantial increase, particularly in the

number of young people and recent migrants turning up for advice. We are delighted to announce that, following an audit of the structure for advice-giving by the Community Legal Services, the quality of advice given and outcomes achieved at the LIC was rated very highly, with the lead auditor making the following statement: “The London Irish Centre is responsive to the needs of the community it serves, as demonstrated by the large volume of contact sought by its client base. There is a palpable sense of mission and of confidence in the worthwhile nature of the service being provided.”

What clients say... “The advice worker was extremely knowledgeable, and her advice led to my mother successfully claiming housing and council tax benefit. We are also considering the information she gave us with regard to pension tax credit and what steps to take next.”

3739 client visits



number of Irish people avoiding homelessness thanks to being placed in emergency accommodation


number of Irish Londoners whose income improved

amount generated in pounds of unclaimed entitlements for Irish citizens for every £1 of funding received from the Irish state for welfare services


Number of inquiries dealt with by the Centre’s welfare number of young services in Irish people given 2011/12 face-to-face support upon their arrival in London



Welfare What clients say... “The advice worker was very helpful and explained everything about Irish pension. She also filled in the forms for us, and I now get the pension from home.” “As a family, we are extremely grateful to the London Irish Centre. I am 100% certain that had it not been for the Irish centre’s guidance, we would not have got the allowance we now get. I had been told by so many people that it was highly unlikely that my mother would get the extra funding, so we are very appreciative of the Irish centre’s expertise.”

Older Person’s Outreach Service The older person’s outreach service exists to improve the quality of life of vulnerable older Irish people by making sure that they have adequate income and housing and can access appropriate health care and social services. Provided on an outreach basis, the majority of advice is given in the clients’ homes.

“If I was in trouble, or my brother, I would bring him down here… because I had trouble with bills and I got it sorted out here.”


number of older Irish people given support and advice on benefits, housing and care related to old age

People are referred by social workers, families, and advice teams across London. At first point of contact, a thorough assessment of the client’s needs are completed. Working with health care professionals and family members, our team ensures that the client’s long-term needs are met. This includes everything from facilitating housing adaptations or transfers to involving befrienders for clients who are isolated and helping them to get access to all their entitlements.

I am 100% certain that had it not been for the Irish centre’s guidance, we would not have got the allowance we now get. The London Irish Centre’s older person’s outreach service holds the Community Legal Services Quality Mark for Advice with Casework on Housing, Welfare Benefits, Debt and Older People.



number of older Irish people who were re-housed in sheltered housing


number of older Irish people who received help with a health service, from referral to treatment stage


number of older Irish people helped to engage in social inclusion opportunities, such as befriending


Client visits

Day Services for Older People Accredited by the London Housing Foundation, ensuring the highest standard of care, support and safeguarding, our day services exist to reduce social isolation and improve the health and quality of life of elderly Irish people in London. The services provide social and educational activities as well as support for vulnerable Irish people in the greater London area. This year, the services included:

healthy lunches

art classes

computer classes assistance in accessing health services day trips

Welfare like the Educational Finance Board and Residential Institutes Redress Board.

What clients say... “I love the writing class. It gets the brain working and brings out talent you didn’t know you had.” “It’s really good you know there is someone there when you are ready to talk.”

Out and about on a day trip

gentle exercise sessions

activities such as bingo, quizzes and cookery workshops

a healthy living group

holidays and short breaks

What clients say... “It’s nice to know that there is someone looking out for me. If I can’t make it in I get a phone call to make sure I’m alright, and that’s reassuring. When I was in hospital they visited me and cheered me up.” “After I was diagnosed with cancer I became very depressed and didn’t leave the house. I came to the day centre and began socialising more and enjoying myself during the day trips and the classes. I look forward to it every week.”

The London Irish Survivors’ Outreach Service (LISOS) Ever since 2001, the London Irish Centre has been providing support to individuals who suffered abuse as children in Ireland’s industrial schools, and this year, with the support of the Department of Education and Skills and the Irish Episcopal Council for Emigrants, the centre has established the first ever dedicated educational service for emigrant survivors. LISOS aims to help those who have suffered intuitional abuse to improve their quality of life. Alongside educational services, we offer continuous emotional support, help with official paperwork, and assistance in accessing other services such as counseling, advice and health services. We also have a dedicated telephone support service, specifically developed to meet the needs of survivors of abuse in institutional care, and work alongside other support services

200+ number of elderly Irish whose access to health services improved thanks to our advice


number of people who felt less socially isolated thanks to the day service trips and outings


clients who felt more confident as a result of using the day services



clients who said they had more friends thanks to the day services

number of people whose quality of life improved as a result of participating in art classes



number of clients who improved their computer skills

number of NHS professionals holding information sessions at the centre



Our weekly i.t. class

Case Study #1

Case Study #2

A client from Dublin in their mid-twenties presented at the centre having recently arrived in London. The client had no accommodation arranged and limited funds. The advice team sourced a hostel for the night and advised the client to come back in the morning. Over the next week the advice team assisted the client to set up a bank account, apply for the appropriate benefits and began to look for a more permanent housing solution. Within one month, with the assistance of the centre’s advice team, the client was housed in suitable rented accommodation and, as a result of the centre’s employability service, was placed in permanent employment in the hospitality sector.

In April 2011, in partnership with the Kerry Emigrant Housing Association, the centre delivered a week- long trip to Ireland for 30 older Irish people who had not been back to Ireland in over 5 years. The trip engaged with individuals who were isolated and would not have been able to make the trip independently as a result of poor health or financial hardship. Participants were recruited from the centre’s Day Services and other Irish services throughout London. For many individuals it was an opportunity to reconnect with their heritage and identity. Importantly the trip provided an opportunity to make meaningful and lasting friendships. Several of the participants were experiencing considerable social exclusion prior to the trip and upon their return began to engage in LIC services on a regular basis. The majority of those who attended remain engaged in LIC services and other services for Irish people across London.

“I’m really glad because if there was no one else around me I’d get frustrated...just filling out the forms or the computer crashes or you’re with agencies and they do nothing for you. It’s the support that you gave me that was so important. The centre does a huge amount it doesn’t realize it does, it creates a support network for Irish people”


“In 70 years I have never been treated like I was this week. I felt like a Queen, nothing was too much trouble, it was wonderful.

Arts & Culture Damien Dempsey on stage at the London Irish Centre

At the London Irish Centre, we’re proud of our past and confident about our future. The centre has been a hub of Irish community and culture for almost 60 years, and from right back to the early years of social dances, where many young Irish emigrants enjoyed a taste of home (and met their life partners!) to our newest events, our focus has always been on people, culture and connections. As the largest and oldest Irish community organisation in Britain, we’re very proud to be bringing the best of Irish culture to London’s wonderfully diverse melting pot.

The best night in ages. A great mix of young and old and generally great craic. Lovely taste of home! A lot of exciting cultural highlights have taken place in the period that this review covers. Firstly, as mentioned in our Chair’s message, we were delighted to welcome President Michael D. Higgins on his first official visit in February. For this very special occasion, we presented a fine performance of traditional Irish music from London-Irish musicians. Our St. Patrick’s Festival brought record crowds to the centre for everything from theatre to film screenings.

We were especially pleased at the success of the children’s events, which were complete sell-outs, and plan to offer more opportunities for our younger friends in the future. Our screening of the Six Nations rugby also attracted young Irish emigrants in their hundreds. Another highlight has been the way in which our fast-growing online communities are responding to the needs and interests of our diverse and everchanging community. We use these communities both to offer support and advice and as a platform for the promotion and celebration of Irish culture. Exciting online connections are resulting in very exciting event partnerships! Some of the long-standing regular events at the centre have continued: music lessons, dance lessons, dances and céilís. We continue to work with individuals and groups to ensure that what we offer is of a high quality and responsive to the needs and interests of both the city’s Irish community and the thousands of non-Irish Londoners who enjoy our culture. As our full-time arts staff team is tiny, we’re blessed to have the support of wonderful volunteers, without whom much of what we do simply could not happen. Our website, book club, Gaelic football team and elders’ tea dance are all volunteer-powered, as are


Arts & Culture Our arts and culture programme, working in the three areas of arts, learning and community, will continue to offer accessible, high-quality opportunities to learn about, celebrate and engage with Irish culture and community, for Irish people in London and all others.

What clients say...

Éire Óg, our local Gaelic Football Club

most of our plans for the coming twelve months. We warmly thank you great people! We’re also lucky to engage with experienced, dynamic and creative artists and arts practitioners that work for reduced rates to fuel our programme. All of the above share our vision of a vibrant, welcoming and modern Irish centre. Working with our partners, Off to Work, we’ll continue to invest in our premises and its arts and marketing infrastructure. The feedback to initial changes and developments has been overwhelmingly positive, so we’re confident that the path ahead will raise the bar even higher.

“I moved to London back in November 2011. There were simply no opportunities for me in Ireland. A friend who moved to London earlier last year had gotten involved with the centre’s GAA club. I went along to a few training sessions and the lads turned me on to a bit of work. Didn’t get a place on the team, but made a few great mates!” Declan, living in London since 2011

“I’ve been living in London for 8 years. It’s only now that I’m feeling a pull to connect with my ‘Irishness’! Myself and a gang of friends went along to the St. Patrick’s Night event and it was the best night in ages. A great mix of young and old and generally great craic. Lovely taste of home!” Maria, from Cork, living in London since 2004

… proudly bringing the best of Irish culture to London’s wonderfully diverse melting pot. The coming twelve months will see partnerships with the British Museum, the Federation of Irish Societies, and leading arts organisations in Ireland, including Temple Bar Cultural Trust and Tradfest, Ireland’s largest traditional music festival. You’ll also see a brand new three-day Irish Comedy Festival, increased opportunities for Irish emigrants to socialise and network, and an improved booking system on our website.


15000+ 12

number of people connected to our online networks

number of people who celebrated St. Patrick’s Day at the London Irish Centre


number of young Irish people who got involved 500+ with our new number of people who GAA club came to learn Irish music, language or dance


number of Irish elders who attended our dances and The London Irish Centre team having fun at St Patrick’s Festival socials

Volunteering Our volunteers play a vital role in the London Irish Centre’s organisation and have done so since its inception in 1954. There may be as many reasons for volunteering as there are volunteers – ranging from the urge to give something back to the community to a desire to connect with people of a different generation – but whatever the reason, we try to do everything we can to make the volunteering experience positive and truly worthwhile. Our volunteers help out with a range of different jobs, and this year, in addition to already existing roles such as lunch club helpers, befrienders and events volunteers, we have welcomed volunteers undertaking a number of new roles, including a digital media volunteer and an art class tutor.

£88,000 worth of service in our previous financial year, our voluntary activity has increased by an encouraging 31% this year, resulting in a total of 97 active volunteers. Just as our volunteers give something back to the community, we want to give something back to them. This year, they were offered training opportunities like courses in Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults and Dementia Awareness, and the overwhelmingly positive feedback to our peer support session for befriending volunteers means that it will be repeated in the autumn.

services, while President Michael D. Higgins spoke at our summer volunteer party and volunteers were awarded volunteer certificates at this year’s annual Christmas party.

How our volunteers help change lives Missing persons service In the past year, we have helped with 93 cases of missing persons, finding all but 22. We reunited 11 formerly missing people with their families. Befriending and handy person’s service With 46 people benefiting from our befriending service in the boroughs of Camden, Islington and Brent this year, this is a hugely important service, quality marked by the Befriending and Mentoring Foundation.

Having contributed an estimated

A one-off event in collaboration with the Department of Work and Pensions gave volunteers who helped spring clean the day centre the opportunity to have lunch with some of the service users to learn about their experience of our

Case study #1

Case study #2

Get involved

An 80-year-old man, living alone and increasingly isolated, was diagnosed with a rare type of dementia causing hallucinations and mood changes. Thanks to our befriending volunteers, he could get one-to-one support and guidance, enabling him to stay in his home for longer with increased social stimulation.

An 88-year-old woman who was becoming frail and therefore housebound was matched with a befriender who shared her passion for books and originated from the same part of Ireland she was from. In addition, a handy person volunteer came to clean her windows so that she could continue to sit by them and enjoy the view.

For most of our volunteer roles, no previous experience is necessary. All we ask for is commitment, enthusiasm and – of course – time. If you want to find out more about volunteering for the London Irish Centre, contact our volunteer coordinator, Sarah Goodall, on 0207 916 2222 or sarahgoodall@ londonirishcentre.org.

A big thank you to all our volunteers Aidan O’Sullivan Ann Walsh Anne Campbell Anthea Clarke Barbara Fitzpatrick Bernadette Lawlor Bernadette Nestor Bridget Hyland Bridget Kelly Bridget O’Doherty Catherine Phelen Catherine Brown Cathy Berrie Catriona Corley Charmaine Doherty Christina Linden Hill

Ciara Holland Claire Reilly Claire Gallagher Cliodhna O’Connor Collin O’Connor Conal Brennan Dawn Lennon Denis Connolly Donna Condon Eilís Keeble Eleanor O’Connell Emma Twomey Erika Hayes Fiona Marie Rae Freda McKeon Geraldine O’Regan

Gina Cavalzani Gobnait Murphy Heidi Murphy Helena Angland Helena Bohane (Sister) Iria Rio Jenny Jordon Jer O’Mahony Julia Howard (Sister) Julie Quinn Julie Hogan Julie Murphy Karen Bolton Kate O’Sullivan Katrina Byrne

Katy O’Shea Kirsten Teague Luke Callinan Maire Duckett Margaret O’Connor Marguerite Mason Marion Esfandiari Marion Faith-Fraser Mary Dowling Maura Clinton Maureen King Michael Bourke Michael O’Keeffe Michael Sills Michael Allen Mike Nolan

Mike Taylor Muireann Leonard Niamh Lyons Nicole Charlet Noirin Byrne Patricia(Pat)Doherty Patrick Roper Patrick Sheehan Peter Tiernan Peter McNally Rita Murphy Robert Healy Rory McKenna Rose Haddow Ruth Connolly Ryan McCann

Sarah Moriarty Sean O’Tarpaigh Shirley O’Sullivan Sinead Sweeney Siobhan Carty Siobhan Grant Steve Whidle Suganavathana Praisoody Tanzum Nahar Terry William Tony Scully Wael El-Ali Zeray Khassy


Venue Hire & Events Off to Work in partnership with the London Irish Centre Off to Work is delighted to have been working alongside the London Irish Centre team over the past twelve months on the exciting process of developing a strong relationship and establishing a clear, mutual goal for how the centre should be perceived by visiting guests and clients. The entire Off to Work team finds the centre and its welfare and arts services very inspiring, and is highly motivated to work hard for everything the centre stands for.


Our venue has seen significant refurbishment work completed under the esteemed stewardship of awardwinning Irish interior designer Paul Daly, offering four superb event spaces. With a brand new entrance to the Presidential suite, making it both more accessible and more appealing to visitors, the centre is now a truly versatile and modern venue for events of all sizes up to 500 guests, as well as a fantastic resource for the Irish and local communities to be proud of. The renovation work has not been exclusively cosmetic, with all aspects of the infrastructure and service being brought up to industry-leading standards. This has all been done with the greatest respect and consideration to the soul and history of the place, and we pride ourselves on being able to provide event services which financially support the charitable remit of the centre.

Off to Work has always had a strong focus on the training and development of hospitality staff at the highest level of professionalism, and the partnership with the London Irish Centre allows us to marry those exceptional operations standards with a naturally warm Irish welcome, to give all our guests and clients a friendly, top-quality experience. This philosophy is reinforced by the use of the best of Irish produce within our food and drink offering, giving true authenticity to the centre. Our kitchen ethos sees absolutely everything made from scratch, including bread and biscuits being baked on site, our own curing of meats, home-made ice cream and sorbets, and the development of exciting new food products. We cater to suit any type of occasion, from canapÊ and bowl food receptions to banqueting feasts, silver service five-course gala dinners, family service, and relaxed buffets, all provided by professional and experienced management and front-of-house teams offering exceptional customer service. With continued financially challenging times in both Ireland and England, we’ve offered hospitality training to several of the welfare team’s young Irish clients who have been looking to start a career within the industry or simply felt that the training would contribute to strengthening their confidence. We enjoy and continuously look forward to working in tandem with the welfare and arts teams in offering the best support services possible to the Irish and local communities, all while providing a venue experience that brings great commercial success to the London Irish Centre.

Our people

The London Irish Centre team with President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins, his wife Sabina Coyne, and H.E. Bobby Mc Donagh, Ambassador of Ireland

As is the case with any voluntary-sector or community organisation, we exist first and foremost for people – and at the heart of everything we do are exceptional people. Our staff, volunteers and trustees (who are also volunteers!) ensure we can remain proud of our past and confident about our future. The majority choose to

support our work for completely selfless reasons, but on this occasion we are going to show them all off to you. Thanks to absolutely everyone who helps make us the thriving and exciting community we are.


London Irish Centre Board of Trustees (L-R) Jim Quinn, Ian McKim, Mary Allen, SeĂĄn Kennedy, Evan Long, Jude Bissert. Fr Paul Byrne not pictured

Our People

Alison Gorman Executive Assistant

Angela O’Sullivan Outreach worker (Camden)

Barbara Fitzpatrick LISOS project worker

Dane Buckley Day services manager

David Barlow CEO

Gary Dunne Director of culture & arts

Jarleth Burke Legal Adviser

Jeff Moore Director of welfare

Lesley Ryan Welfare advice team leader

Louisa Toland Welfare advice worker

Marcella Doyle Welfare advice worker

Margaret Kiely Administrator

Maria Connolly Day services support

Marie Aubertin LISOS coordinator

Mary Gleeson Outreach worker (Kilburn / Brent)

Mary Loughrey Outreach worker (Islington)

Melanie O’Rourke Welfare Advice Worker

Morris Mac Donagh Finance officer

Neil Preston Sales manager

Philip Atkins Managing Director (Off to Work)

Rupal Acharya Accounts (Off to Work)

Sarah Goodall Volunteer coordinator

Seán Kennedy Chair of the Board of Trustees

Tarah Cunynghame Venue manager

Tracy Kemp Day centre cook


All headshots by editorial and portrait photographer Michael Leckie: michaelleckie.co.uk.

Funders, fundraising & accounts None of the work of the London Irish Centre would be possible if it wasn’t for our funders. Financed primarily by the Emigrant Support Programme of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, we also rely on the financial support of charitable foundations, businesses and individual contributions. Though the charity’s premises are certainly among its key assets, plenty of funds have gone into maintaining and improving them to make sure that we can continue to facilitate professional services of the highest quality. There are now 356,000 Irish nationals living in the UK, with the majority based in London. As this figure is expected to increase yet again in 2012/2013, the sustaining of our services, particularly to the increasing number of young Irish people looking for work, has never been more important. At the same time, the elderly Irish community in London is more exposed than any other demographic to poor health, homelessness and social isolation. The grants and donations we receive are therefore imperative in continuing the invaluable work of giving advice on everything from benefits and housing to employability and debt management.

The year that’s passed 2011/2012 was an incredibly challenging year for the charity sector. That the LIC managed an increase in overall revenues, with particular success in regards to grant income and rents received, is a significant achievement in recessionary times. The success of various funding bids to organisations such as the Amy Winehouse Foundation, the Stephens Green Trust and the Irish Episcopal Council for Emigrants among others meant that we diversified our funding sources from our primary funder. In addition, the appointment of our new bar and catering franchisee, Off to Work, in the autumn of 2011 is expected to lead to a further operational income increase in the coming financial years.

There were, however, increased costs in some areas, especially as we worked towards our long-term objectives of developing staff capability through a focus on training, switching to a new and improved venue and catering service through initiating a longterm partnership with the Off to Work organisation, and making related facilities improvements to create a first-class venue. Our focus on staff development was recognised externally through the award of the Community Legal Services Quality Mark, in addition to the already awarded Day Centre Quality Standard, and we anticipate that the increased level of costs incurred this year will help the organisation yield longer-term benefits for the charity as a whole and strengthen its position to meet future challenges.

Achievements and highlights The centre’s strong performance in regards to the maintenance of grant levels and increase in rents should be understood in the context of an increasingly competitive funding environment. The reality is that our key funders are under a lot of pressure in trying to sustain their funding levels to the LIC, and we’re exceptionally grateful to them for doing so. There’s a pressing need in the coming years to focus on managing the effects of this tough environment, in order to maintain income levels and subsequently also the quality of services we offer to our clients. This is why we have adopted a long-term approach to funding strategy, with the appointment of a development manager in the autumn of 2012. It is our hope that this will contribute to the two-fold aims of increasing unrestricted income and allowing the charity’s senior management to concentrate on operational and strategic matters. In addition, following an initial phase of significant improvements to our premises and facilities during this past year, more phases are scheduled to take place to contribute to the creation


of a professional environment for our bar and catering team and make the London Irish Centre a leader in Irish arts and culture.

Thank you The centre simply could not cover its project and core costs if it wasn’t for the generous contributions made by our donors throughout the year. We want to thank Dr. Padraigin Riggs, Bugler Developments, the London Borough of Camden, Kerry Emigrant Support Housing, Currencies Direct, Cripplegate Foundation, The Irish Youth Foundation, Ennis Town Council, St. Michael & The Heavenly Hosts House of Prayer, The Council of Irish Counties, Dr. Tim McDonnell, St. John the Evangelist Parish, Larry O’Leary, and Richard Sweeney for their support and generous gifts. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank Pat Greene and John McCabe who are sadly no longer with us, and extend

a big thanks to Mike Nolan for being generous with his time in regards to IT and web work. The London Irish Centre depends on these donations in the continuing provision of advice, welfare and outreach services, helping the most vulnerable members of the Irish community. During the year we were humbled to be the beneficiary of a legacy gift from someone who had experienced at first hand the diverse range of services and activities the centre has to offer. We extend our sincerest appreciation to those who in their wills remember the value of our work. To find out more about how you can help the charity, call Gerry Carty on 020 7916 2222 or email gerrycarty@londonirishcentre.org, alternatively visit http://www.londonirishcentre.org/support-us.

Funding Statement of Financial Activities Total Income Direct Charitable Expenditure Management, Administration and Cultural Total Resources Expended Net Incoming Resources Balances carried forward

£ 2011-12 £951,174.00 £827,126.00 £236,329.00 £1,063,455.00 -£112,281.00 £2,319,299.00

£ 2010-11 £943,710.00 £708,607.00 £135,089.00 £843,696.00 £100,014.00 £2,382,149.00

Balance Sheet Fixed Assets Debtors Cash in Bank Creditors Net Current Assets Total Assets less liabilities

£2,213,479.00 £19,624.00 £425,191.00 -£338,995.00 £105,820.00 £2,319,299.00

£2,234,148.00 £22,200.00 £518,968.00 -£393,167.00 £148,001.00 £2,086,147.00

Fundraising Efforts Large donations Individual donations Fundraising events Legacies Recurring donations

£8,644.00 £6,500.00 £2,500.00 £1,000.00 £1,061.00

£21,164.00 £3,605.00 £5,785.00 £1,000.00 £188.00

Total Fundraising



Funders 18

Contact US The London Irish Centre 50-52 Camden Square London, NW1 9XB

Directions The nearest Tube station is Camden Town (10 mins); the nearest Overground train station is Camden Road (5 mins); and buses 29, 253, 274 and 390 all pass close by.

Parking Metered parking is available directly outside the London Irish Centre. Please check the meters for details on times and price. Parking is currently free after 6.30pm Monday to Friday and all day on Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays. The Centre is open from early morning until late in the evening 7 days a week. Please come and enjoy the finest authentic Irish venue in London.

Opening Hours

The London Irish Centre is located outside the congestion charge zones.

Social Media

Opening hours of our drop-in advice service

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday

9.30 to 12.30 9.30 to 12.30 closed 9.30 to 12.30 9.30 to 12.30

2.00 To 4.00 2.00 to 4.00 2.00 to 4.00 2.00 To 4.00 closed

T: 020 7916 2222 F: 020 7916 2638 E: info@londonirishcentre.org W: www.londonirishcentre.org

Events and venue hire Opening Hours The centre is open from early morning until late seven days per week. T: 020 7916 2222 E: venuehire@londonirishcentre.org W: www.londonirishcentre.org



Registered Charity No: 221172 Company Registered No: 2449442 VAT Registered No: 523404776

@LDNIrishCentre facebook.com/thelondonirishcentre linkedin.com/company/the-london-irish-centre

Profile for London Irish Centre

London Irish Centre Annual Report 2012  

London Irish Centre Annual Report 2012