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WELCOME Welcome to the London Irish Centre Annual Review 2013-14. We hope the following pages will give you a good overview of the vast range of work, activities and events that have taken place in the reporting year, all during an ever more challenging time for the voluntary sector. The review will give you an overview of the diversity and scope of our welfare work. This is needed as much today as it was when the charity was founded 60 years ago. This is also the first full year that the new charity has operated, following the amalgamation of the former London Irish Centre and the Irish Charitable Trust (ISAS) meaning that the range of services now stretch across vast areas of London and the majority of London Boroughs. As you will read in the arts section, our arts programme continues to grow bringing a range of arts and cultural events and activities to our Camden centre and beyond. Most of our work is supported by a great team of volunteers and in the volunteering section you will discover some of the very valuable activities that they give their time to. We continue to strive to be a strong and viable organisation that is at the heart of the Irish community in London, representing and supporting all sections of the Irish community. If you have a view or comment on any of our services or activities please write to us or email us at the addresses given at the end of this review.



The London Irish Centre promotes a culture that values the following: n n n n n n


Minister Jimmy DeenihanTD Minister for the Diaspora “I am delighted to have the opportunity to express my support, as Minister for the Diaspora, for the important work undertaken by the London Irish Centre to support the Irish community in London.” The Irish Government is delighted to support the work of the London Irish Centre through funding provided through the Emigrant Support Programme. The funding is awarded to the London Irish Centre, primarily to support the Community Welfare Services in North, South and SouthWest London and the Elderly Irish Wellbeing and Support Programme, which provide valuable welfare, information and advice services to the more vulnerable members of our community.

older people, vulnerable newer emigrants and those at risk of social exclusion remains a key priority of the Irish Government’s engagement with our community here.

I was delighted to have the opportunity to visit the London Irish Centre and the other excellent Irish community organisations based at the Centre during my first visit to London as Minister for the Diaspora. The Government is deeply committed to supporting our community abroad. The welfare of the Irish community in Britain, in particular

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Mary Allen, Life Member of the London Irish Centre, who received the Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad this year. This recognition highlights the importance attached at the very highest levels in Ireland to Irish community organisations and volunteers in Britain.

I would like to congratulate the Board, staff and members of the London Irish Centre on your achievements over the past 12 months, and indeed the past 60 years. I would also like to pay tribute to the volunteers working with the London Irish Centre, for their dedication and commitment to supporting our community in London. Your work has made a profound difference to the quality of life experienced by thousands of Irish emigrants to London over so many years and deserves the gratitude of all Irish people.


A MESSAGE FROM OUR CHAIR Over the past 60 years there have been many significant milestones for the London Irish Centre, and April 22nd 2013 marked one more. On this date the merger of Irish Support and Advisory Services (ISAS) and the original Irish Centre Charity took place forming the new London Irish Centre charity.

“Our volunteer force has grown and the contribution of the group is invaluable.”

The new charity has over 100 years of combined service to the Irish community in London and now provides services in North, West, and Southwest London. We have a stronger organisation, greater reach and more resources to serve the community.

Our volunteer force has grown and the contribution of the group is invaluable. We have close to 150 volunteers carrying out a vast range of activities throughout London and we would not be able to maintain all of our services without their essential input.

I was honoured to be elected Chair at our inaugural board meeting and joined Maeve Buckley, Dermot Murphy and David Perkins from ISAS on the new board, alongside previous trustees Ian Mc Kim and Evan Long.

After a number of years of running a large deficit due to significant investment in the Camden Centre our finances are stabilising. For the coming year we expect our deficit to be in the region of 2% of turnover with the deficit planned to be eliminated in 2015/16.

There were a number of people involved in the merger who should be mentioned – Mike Mc Ginn; Peter Hammond; Jennie McShannon and Jarleth Burke. Jarleth has now stepped down as our legal advisor, his advice and wisdom will be missed. Philip Fitzpatrick (my predecessor as Chair), Jim Quinn, Fr Paul Byrne and Jude Bissert stepped down too – they had given close to 40 years of combined volunteer service to the charity. A number of ISAS trustees also departed, Maggie Beirne, Peter Curran, Kevin Germaine, Kathy King, Marie Linnane and Gary O’Brien–we are grateful for their contribution. We are now governed by a modern constitution – our objectives valuing historic links with the Council of Irish Counties Association and with the Church. The organisation is a membership body and I would encourage everyone interested in the charity to join us as members. I would like to thank the staff of both organisations for their professionalism and patience through the process. The combined welfare staff dealt with over 13,000 individual clients through the year with an average of 730 pensioners attending clubs weekly. David and the team`s ongoing focus on delivering high quality outcomes to an increasing number of people during a time of funding cuts is notable. Our Arts and Culture programme has continued to grow and we plan to build on this over the coming years. Later on in the year, in November, the members confirmed the appointment of an additional four trustees – Dr Mary Hickman, Bernadette Sexton, Lyndsey Drea and Kieran Ryan. We spent considerable time and effort searching for skilled candidates and I am delighted that the board is now at full strength.


An increasingly important source of income is through our partnership with Off To Work (our bar, catering and venue managers). This year`s income is more than 3 times the income from our previous agreement, and this valuable source allows us to invest in the Camden building, our services and our people. It also helps us retain staff and services as other statutory funds are reduced. A relationship between charity and commercial sectors can present challenges but our charity has been strengthened greatly in this particular case. We were grateful to receive the continued support of the Irish Government through The Emigrant Support Programme, which funds much of the welfare provision of the new charity. And a huge thanks to our many other funders and supporters who are listed on pages 19-20. As we celebrate our 60th anniversary we will no doubt look back at the many other milestones in the history of the charity, while at the same time continuing to plan for a sustainable and productive future.

Seán Kennedy

Chair of the board of trustees

A MESSAGE FROM OUR CEO The London Irish centre is unlike most other charities in that it has such a wide range of charitable objectives. The new charity, which became a legal entity during the reporting year, continues to promote an enormous diversity of activity. There can be few charities that host formal black tie dinners; run a programme of Irish traditional and contemporary music and arts; coordinate a large educational programme of music, dance and language lessons; manage venue and conference facilities; recruit, train and support over 150 volunteers; facilitate activities for over 700 Irish elders each week, across several sites and provide welfare advice and outreach services to thousands of individuals and families each year.

“To maintain our current level of services and our great building we will need to achieve even more in the coming year” It has become quite a challenge to maintain everything that we do and even develop some new activities. We remain most thankful to the people of Ireland, who have continued to support us, through times of austerity, via The Emigrant Support Programme. During 2013-14 this made up nearly 50% of the organisation’s funding but has been reducing both in size and percentage of our overall operating budget. This combined with a continued squeeze in UK statutory funding, leaves an ever increasing gap to be filled through fundraising and new income generation initiatives. For this reason the charity has formed a new fundraising committee and introduced new events such as The Big Night Out, fundraising ball,which was a great success, in May 2013. To maintain our current level of services and our great building we will need to achieve even more in the coming year and please do feel free to contact me directly if you can help us in anyway. I want this year to mention the LIC team of staff. The services and activities I have mentioned are only continued because of the dedication of a great team of individuals. As with so many others in the voluntary sector in recent years, the charity’s employees have gone even further to achieve more with reduced funds. The UK welfare reforms and general decline in so many people’s circumstances has led to not only an increase in the number of people presenting needing help but their needs are greater with a sharp increase in homelessness, poverty and insecurity leading to anxiety and mental health problems. I thank the team very much indeed for all of their work for clients.

The end of the reporting period took the organisation into its 60th anniversary. This was a time for all of us to reflect on our history and the relevance of the London Irish Centre over six decades and what its relevance will be in the future for new generations of Irish people and their friends. For the past three years the management and board of the charity have been working to ensure that we remain at the heart of the Irish community in London. To do this we have had to respond to the needs of younger Irish people and those of recent migrants. Obviously we will always be true to the people who founded the organisation, who are now older and we will always run a range of support services for Irish elders, across London and promote a community organisation that touches the hearts of all ages and backgrounds. Change can be seen as a challenge for some but we wish to work with and consult the community in the coming year to ensure that what we provide is relevant. We do this against a backdrop of many Irish clubs struggling for membership and funding. The next reporting year will showcase some of the great highlights of our 60th anniversary, which was launched in February by Cllr Jonathan Simpson, who was Mayor of Camden, with a civic celebration of the work of the LIC, attended by HE Dan Mulhall, Ambassador of Ireland. The year ahead will also see more of the change that I have touched on above as the organisation takes back management of the Kennedy Hall for the Irish community. A sincere thank you to every individual and organisation for your support during the year. Please continue to work with us to keep us at the heart of the Irish Community in London.

David Barlow

Chief Executive



Camden Town Hall celebration Alison, Mary & Mary’s Daughter

It’s always difficult to choose ‘highlights’ from any given year at the London Irish Centre, as there is simply such a diverse range of services and activities that provide ongoing support to the city’s Irish community. The essential services provided by our advice and outreach team, social inclusion for older Irish people offered by our Day Services and our programme of arts, community and education events are just some of what keeps us busy.

60th Anniversary Concert Series Liam Ó Maonlaí

However, we like to use the annual report as an opportunity to highlight some of the special, oneoff things that are particular to the year in question, which we hope are worthy of your attention. In late 2013, we officially launched our new charity, following a merger with The Irish Charitable Trust, who have been delivering great support to the Irish community in West London for forty years. The new ‘London Irish Centre Charity’ was launched at the Irish Embassy, London in October 2013, in the presence of those connected to the past and present of both organisations, and to the combined future of both. This new development broadens the work of the London Irish Centre to new areas of London. As 2014 (our 60th anniversary year) arrived, we were honoured to be invited to a civic celebration in Camden Town Hall by the Mayor of Camden. This special reception paid tribute to our sixty years of community service in the London Borough of Camden, and was attended by many of our much-valued local partners. We were pleased that many friends of the Centre, old and new, were there to join us, and we are grateful to the Mayor of Camden for acknowledging the Centre’s work. January also saw the launch of our historic ‘60th Anniversary Concert Series’ which would bring some of the leading names in traditional and contemporary music to the Centre through its anniversary year.


St Patrick’s Day March 2014

Big Night Out 2013 Ray D’arcy

Supported by Culture Ireland, this concert series was a resounding success. More on that in next year’s report!

Concerts, classes, community meetings, book clubs, dances, music lessons, conferences - the list goes on!

In March, we were invited to present to an Oireachtas Committee in Leinster House on ‘Sixty Years of Supporting An Irish Community’. We were honoured by the respect, and interest shown by members to the longstanding work of The London Irish Centre.

A particularly memorable event was the ‘Séamus Heaney Tribute’, where over 400 people gathered to pay their respects to the work of the late, great Irish poet. We welcomed poets, politicians, artists, directors and community voices for an event that will linger long in the minds of those in attendance.

The itinerary for this Dublin trip also included a presentation of more than 6,000 books to our new ‘London Irish Centre Library’ project. The donation initiative, driven by the Oireachtas Committee, building on some private donations we had received, resulted in remarkable generosity from TDs, senators, publishers and authors. This will be the seed of a valuable new resource for the Irish in London. In April, the Centre worked in partnership with Kerry Emigrant Support for another year, to bring a group of older Irish people on a holiday to Kerry. We are truly appreciative of the efforts of Kerry Emigrant Support in supporting the trip, as those older people who go are often unable to do so independently, for both financial and emotional reasons. The group had a wonderful time and were warmly welcomed by the people of Kerry. Our events programme saw some real highlights this year. In terms of arts, community and education, there was much activity and energy around the Centre.

Of course there were our flagships festivities around St. Patrick’s, which attracted over 600 people to celebrate Irish culture and community. There was similar fun around both our Irish Christmas Gathering and Pensioners’ Christmas Party. The festival feel also returned for the Return to Camden Town Festival, The London Irish Comedy Festival, Irish Writers Week and Gaelic Voices Festival. Our charity also launched a new Annual Fundraising Dinner in May, supported by our venue partners, Off to Work. ‘The Big Night Out’, hosted by Today FM’s Ray D’Arcy in 2013, will now be an annual fixture on the London Irish Centre’s fundraising calendar. We look forward to reporting on some of the really exciting work which continued through our anniversary year in next year’s report.



The London Irish Centre is the largest welfare service for Irish people outside of Ireland. Each year we work with thousands of Irish people in London to improve their income, housing, access to health and social inclusion opportunities. The welfare service at The London Irish Centre encompasses drop in advice services, outreach provision, wellbeing services and a volunteering & befriending service from offices in Camden, Kilburn and West Kensington. 2013 was a landmark year in welfare reform and it has been a busy and challenging year for the Welfare team. Whilst the anticipated UK Welfare Reforms have not yet been fully implemented, the centre has seen an increase in clients with acute needs. Vulnerable Irish people have been affected by the local housing allowance (LHA) size criteria for housing benefit (HB) in the social rented sector, Personal Independent Payments and the mandatory revision stage before appeal. Many clients have been affected by more than one of the recent welfare reforms, leading to a significant overall reduction in entitlements, increased debt and in turn; homelessness. The increase in requests for appeals has resulted in welfare staff taking on eight appeals per week and the London Irish Centre has been successful in overturning 80% of those decisions. The London Irish Centre had contact from 13,267 individuals during 2013/2014. Among clients who were seen face to face – 5% were under 25, 63% were aged between 26 to 49 and 32% were over the aged of 50. 30% of 06

the 9,036 phonecalls received were from Irish people still on the island wanting to move to the UK. The London Irish Centre continues to avail of emergency funds from the Benevolent Society of St Patrick to meet short term urgent need for items of furniture, housing costs, fuel and food. We recently registered with the Trestle Trust, a large charity managing food banks; we are now authorised to refer clients to the food bank where they can access food. The welfare service also manages the Irish Youth Foundation emergency fund for clients aged under 30 in urgent need of accommodation, food and fuel. The cost and shortage of housing is our greatest challenge and we are grateful to Innisfree Housing Association, Irish Centre Housing and Mr Sean Doherty for their assistance. The Advice Service at the London Irish Centre has once again achieved the Advice Quality Standard Certification for Advice with casework on welfare/ benefits, housing, debt and work with older people.

ACCIS Partnership Understanding the Impact of Benefit Changes The ACCIS partnership is made up of the following groups; Camden Chinese Community Centre (CCCC), Camden Cypriot Women’s Organisation (CCWO), Camden Somali Cultural Centre (CSCC), London Irish Centre (LIC), Hopscotch Asian Women’s Centre (HAWC). As specialist service providers in Camden, ACCIS project partners have long filled a visible gap in the provision of culturally-appropriate and targeted services for the borough’s Asian, Chinese, Cypriot, Irish and Somali communities. In October 2013, a partnership project was funded by Camden Council – ‘Understanding the Impact of Benefit Changes’. The aim of the project was to reduce the negative impact of benefit changes on BME communities in the borough. Whilst increasing available information, advice and advocacy to BME service-user communities, the partnership also set out to help bridge the gap between CAP providers and BME service-users to increase the take-up of mainstream advice services by target communities.

The Cost of Change: The impact of welfare reforms on the Irish community The Cost of Change report was launched in July 2013. It was written in partnership with Irish in Britain, London Irish Centre and lasa. The report sets out to explore how the welfare reforms will affect an established migrant community – the Irish community in London.

The Welfare Sub-Committee of the Board The London Irish Centre provides a wide range of services to vulnerable Irish people in London. The purpose of the Welfare Committee is to ensure that these services are working to the highest professional standards, are in line with good practice and that appropriate measures are being taken to ensure the Centre is meeting its responsibility in terms of duty of care. The Committee meets on a quarterly basis and is required to produce an annual report for the board of trustees on client welfare in the London Irish Centre.

Case Study Mary is a 35 year old mother of 5 children aged between 1 and 14 years old. Mary lives in a two bed-roomed flat in a Tower Block. Mary is separated from her alcoholic husband and is finding it very hard to cope in such cramped conditions. While the Council acknowledged that the accommodation was overcrowded, they also indicated that it would be unlikely that she would be offered a larger home within the social housing sector. A homeless family would take precedence over an overcrowded family each time a suitable property becomes available. Mary’s Council offered to facilitate a move to a larger property in the private sector. However, she is unable to avail of this offer due to the imminent benefit caps: she has a total household income of £335 per week; comprised of Income Support, Child Tax Credits and Child Benefit. The new cap on benefits means that Mary could only receive Local Housing Allowance up to a maximum

of £165 per week before reaching the £500 limit on benefits paid to families regardless of their size. The chances of finding accommodation privately in London for a family of 6 for £165 a week are remarkably slim. Mary is currently trapped in a severely overcrowded property to the detriment of her mental health and that of her children. The London Irish Centre continues to advocate on Mary’s behalf in relation to her housing issue. We have also referred her to a counselling service so she can be assisted to deal with her separation and previous experience of domestic violence. We have also managed to obtain grants for Mary and her family to help them maximise their living space with bunk beds and a combined fridge/freezer. At times when the family is exceptionally short of money we refer her to the local food bank so her short funds can be spent on shoes or winter clothing for the children. 07

WELFARE continued

91% Welfare service achievements by numbers

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

350+ 5000 Elderly Irish had access to health services

hot meals served to pensioners

Older Person’s Outreach Service The London Irish Centre’s Older Person’s Outreach Service works with vulnerable, older Irish people to improve their quality of life, make sure they have adequate income and housing, and ensure that they have access to appropriate health care and social services. Our Older Person’s Outreach Service is accredited by the Advice Quality Standard which ensures the advice we give is accurate and effective.

Our outreach work mainly takes place in people’s homes where our outreach workers can make a thorough assessment of the client’s needs. People are referred to our service by social workers, families and advice teams across London. Working in partnership means that our outreach workers can ensure our client’s long term needs are met. This can include helping them to get access to their entitlements and facilitating housing adaptations.

Case Study The London Irish Centre welfare service received a visit from the neighbour of an 84 year old gentleman who suffered with some serious health issues and was physically unable to access outside services. The neighbour reported that John suffered with severe Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), lived alone, had no carers and was in need of assistance. An outreach worker was contacted immediately to carry out an emergency visit. When the outreach worker arrived at John’s flat, he breathless, pale and complained of leg pain. He had a nebuliser machine at home to assist with his breathing which had been placed there previously by the hospital. The outreach worker noticed that the medication had run out and the machine did not appear to be working properly. A call was made to the GP who suggested that an ambulance should be called. Paramedics were dispatched and the outreach worker accompanied John in the ambulance to the accident and emergency department of a local hospital. It transpired that John had lost his wife two years previously and was missing her tremendously. He himself had been ill for a number of years with COPD which had gradually become more severe. He had become unable to cope with the daily living tasks such as washing, dressing, shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry and taking his medication.


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 also arranged for a long term care package to be provided by the community social services team when the 6 week temporary hospital home care package ceased. The hospital provided a new nebuliser and specialist COPD nurse to visit John at home. John is now back home and has regular carers helping him with all his home care needs. His medication is provided by the GP and sent to the local chemist for delivery to John. Our outreach worker is visiting John and has referred him to our befriending services and is currently looking into his welfare benefits to ensure he receives all his entitlements. She has also ensured that the carers are booking 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. John is also aware that he can contact The London Irish Centre by phone from his flat if he has any concerns or needs further assistance. Our outreach worker will stay in contact with John both by phone and with home visits as needed.





said their health had improved since attending our social groups

said they felt less isolated since attending our social groups

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

said they part of a supportive community by attending our services

Wellbeing Services Accredited by the London Housing Foundation, ensuring the highest standard of care, support and safeguarding, our Wellbeing Services exist to reduce social isolation and improve the health and quality of life of elderly Irish people in London.

■ Tasty, healthy, home cooked meals

The services provide social and educational activities as well as support and community for vulnerable Irish people in the greater London area. The services run from our Camden Day Centre and our social groups throughout North, West and South London. This year, the services included:

■ Day Trips

■ Art classes ■ Health promotion & information days

■ Gentle exercise sessions ■ Line dance classes ■ Strength and balance workshops ■ Activates such as bingo, quizzes & cookery workshops ■ A healthy living group ■ Holidays and short breaks ■ Support with terminal illness ■ Support with dementia ■ Seasonal celebrations as part of a community ■ LIC 60th Birthday Pensioners Birthday Party

“…This place has changed my life, there are so many friendly faces and the staff are very good to me. I know they’d do anything they could to help me. I don’t feel old when I come here; it’s very young at heart and we’re always learning and laughing…” Day Centre Client 09


25,000+ people were connected to our online communities

8,000+ books donated to our new Library

30+ community groups were provided with free space to host events

500+ people came to learn about Irish language, music or dance.

This was another busy year for the arts team at The London Irish Centre. Led by Director of Arts, Gary Dunne, we hosted a hugely diverse range of events. Our good friends and partners ran set dances, céilís, book clubs, singing sessions, dinner parties, concerts and more. We proudly launched and hosted five top quality art exhibitions from Irish artists in our new gallery space in the Hub. This is alongside hosting countless amounts of community meetings of all sizes. Big flagship events like our Christmas Gathering and Pensioners Christmas Party attracted many hundreds of visitors to the Centre for some festive fun. Of course St. Patrick’s was one of the biggest events of the year, with a jam-packed programme and a full house, including BBC DJ Chris Evans, who plugged the event to his 11m listeners! Aswell as the regular events, we welcomed our friends in Comhaltas for their All Winners Concert, Éire Óg GAA for their first dinner dance, Penguin Publishers for the launch of a new Irish community project and the Labour Irish Society for discussion and debate. We also represented London in the huge Global Bloomsday web event as part of Tourism Ireland’s ‘Gathering 2013’, which streamed Joyce to the world. We were honoured to host a significant tribute to late, great Seamus Heaney which featured a wonderful array of speakers, including Irish Ambassador to Britain, Dan Mulhall.


ARTS & CULTURE continued The Centre showcased new Irish talent through the Seanchaí Nua Irish arts collective and the Young Irish Writers Showcase, which brought excellent new Irish creativity to our audience. In terms of theatre, we housed rehearsals and development works from a wide range of Irish drama groups and staged memorable shows from Fifth Province Productions and others. ‘Three Men Talking’ brought great new work to a London stage. Continuing the showcase theme, we partnered with The Irish Embassy in the launch and creation of a new ‘Irish Showcase’ for London, which brought eight Irish creative talents to the Embassy for a very special evening. In January, we kicked off the exciting ‘60th Anniversary Concert Series’, supported by Culture Ireland. This brought some of the leading names in contemporary and traditional Irish music to our stage. The series also offered supporting showcase slots to emerging artists. The music continued with concerts from Brian Kennedy, Mundy, Paddy Keenan, Brendan Shine, Hermitage Green, Dermot Byrne, The Olllam and the legendary Irish Rambling House! Four key festivals were welcomed to our doors during this year: The Return to Camden Town Festival of Irish Music, Song & Dance, The London Irish Comedy Festival, Gaelic Voices and Irish Writers Week. All four brought great energy to our programme. The London Irish Centre continued to provide top quality learning experiences, from both our in-house managed Irish language classes and our friends at Meitheal Cheoil school of traditional Irish music and others. Students of all ages and backgrounds got an accessible and professional taste of our great cultural heritage. We were honoured to get the support of the Irish government in leading a donations project for our new Irish library. In March, we were guests at a reception in Leinster House, where hundreds of TDs, senators, publishers, artists and interested others donated over 6,000 books to the project. Our online presence grew significantly during this period. Both our website and large online social media profiles have become home to a supportive, active and engaged community of many thousands of people. On these new platforms, we continue our long tradition of bringing together Irish people and people with a love for Irish culture and community. Another significant development in this busy year for the arts team was the move to a dedicated new arts office at the Centre. This provides both a hub for the Centre’s artistic community and a box office service for event attendees. The arts team grew through the recruitment of ten new ‘Arts Assistants’, who now provide essential, diverse and 12

much-appreciated support to our wide range of events and activities. This too continues a long tradition of community volunteering at and around The Centre. Warm thanks to all of them. As well as welcoming audiences to our main Camden home, we also got out and about, attending conferences, gigs and networking events at the Irish Embassy, WOMEX, Temple Bar Tradfest, the Galway Arts Festival, the Royal Albert Hall and Houses of Parliament. We couldn’t continue this important community and cultural work without the support of the Irish government’s Emigrant Support Programme. This support and our close working relationship with the Irish Embassy, London are deeply valued by the team. We also want to thank everyone who attended an event, donated to a project, took a class, spread the word, or simply dropped by to visit the Centre - go raibh míle maith agaibh!


Sliced Events in partnership with the London Irish Centre Our third year in partnership with the London Irish Centre has seen significant progress being made both in terms of commercial hire revenues and our depth of understanding of the cultural and service based requirements of the Centre.We have welcomed an incredibly diverse range of clients, companies, and events to the Centre over the past year and have further improved our service provision whilst doing so. From blue-chip corporates to wonderful charities holding away days, conferences, training, and exams the number of events managed by our team has increased dramatically and we are looking to continue this trend into 2015. The McNamara bar refurbishment project saw us investing in new surfaces, dispense points, and equipment to facilitate the speedy service required when 400 plus thirsty guests are in the building – to this end we have doubled the number of effective service points. The switch from our old draught beverage supplier to Heineken has also proven a popular choice as we have seen a significant reduction in the issues which were largely associated with an ageing distribution infrastructure. The successes of the Charity’s cultural programme are to be congratulated, with significant events such as Father Ted Fest and the fantastic Comedy Festival really making their mark in the community’s social calendar. We have revised our beverage product line to appeal to the younger users of the centre; ensuring that our product offer is relevant, appealing, and of good value. The success of the Cultural programme is not simply limited to these events however, and we have been extremely proud to have been able to be part of a fantastic St Patrick’s Day celebration this year alongside the 60th Anniversary events which have enriched our understanding of the importance of the Centre to the Irish Community considerably. We absolutely understand the need to appeal to an extremely wide demographic of users of the Centre

and we are also respectful and aware of the heritage and deeply engrained sense of ownership felt by certain stakeholder groups. We very much want to continue to develop and improve our relationships with all stakeholders of the Centre and are looking forward to engaging in positive and progressive dialogue with them throughout the coming year. Our plans for further development within the building are constantly updated and ongoing. In the coming months we are working with the Charity to help to fund the refurbishment of the front façade of the building, making that all important first impression as impressive as possible. We are also planning to renovate both sets of public toilets, a major project that will result in a more positive experience for all users of the Centre. We envisage that upgrade works such as these will enable us to sell the spaces available to us more effectively. This is an essential part of our strategy, enabling us to continue to invest in this wonderful building, develop our training provision for young hospitality staff in London, and also to contribute to the wonderful service that the Charity’s Welfare Team provide. We are proud and passionate about our involvement with the London Irish Centre and are thrilled to have seen such positive progress being made over the past year. We are very much looking forward to welcoming you to the Centre for whatever reason over the coming months and hope that you have an enjoyable and engaging experience when you do so. 13

THE VOLUNTEER SERVICE Volunteers have played a vital role in the London Irish Centre since its inception in 1954. There may be as many reasons people decide to volunteer; to learn new skills, make new friends, or give time to the community. Whatever the reason, the London Irish Centre tries to do everything we can to make the volunteering experience positive and truly worth-while.

159 volunteers during 2013/14

There were 159 volunteers within the service over the year, an increase of 9% on 20122013. The economic value of the time volunteers provided the organisation was over ÂŁ250,000. The range of different volunteering roles offered within the centre increased again to include additional roles such as Arts Assistant and Library Volunteer. Volunteers are supported with training and education. Volunteers participated in End of Life Care, Maintaining Professional Boundaries and Dementia Awareness in partnership with the Older Persons Team at the Irish Chaplaincy in Great Britain. A Christmas and Summer Party were held during the year as an expression of thanks to our wonderful dedicated team of volunteers.

The Befriending Service

Handy Person Service

The Befriending Service operated by the London Irish Centre is accredited by the Mentoring and Befriending Foundation (MBF). This year the service also completed the MBF Monitoring and Evaluation programme for Befriending Schemes; resulting in LIC having up to date research on the service.

Several DIY tasks were carried out by our DIY Handy Persons volunteer including putting together flat pack furniture for a client who was moving into her first home in sheltered accommodation after decades of living in hostels. This was the first time she purchased her own furniture.

The befriending service visited 73 clients in their homes this year. The service has continued to see an increase in the number of external referrals for clients with higher needs such as people with mental health difficulties and dementia. Clients were also referred to and supported by the London Irish Centre Outreach Team in instances where their urgent needs were not being met.

Befriending examples: An older lady with complex health needs has been matched to a volunteer who is befriending her but also supporting her to use a lap top in order to stay in touch with her family in Ireland. An elderly gentleman who previously attended the London Irish Centre day services was diagnosed dementia and had been neglecting his own welfare and as a result, was resettled in a nursing home. A befriender visits him in order to offer culturally sensitive support ensuring he retains his dignity and is enabled to settle into his new accommodation.

Missing Persons Service In the past year the missing persons service has helped with over 60 cases of missing persons.

Kerry Trip The London Irish Centre and the Kerry Emigrant Support (KES) have, for several years now, organised a yearly holiday to Ballybunion in County Kerry. The aim of this initiative is to enable older Irish people, who would not otherwise be able (for financial and emotional reasons), to return to their country of birth. 31 older people benefitted from the Kerry Trip in 2013. A large percentage of those were survivors of institutional abuse, people with mental health issues and/ or alcohol addiction. The Kerry Trip continues to have very positive outcomes for clients, for some it was their first trip to Ireland in over 20 years and was a very emotional journey.



Dawn Lennon

Judith Murphy

Niamh Doyle

Ailbhe McCabe

Declan Becton

Julia Howard (Sister)

Nicole McNeilly

Ailbhe Ni Earrain

Denis Connolly

Julie Hogan

Nick Beard

Alison O’Brien

Dermott Murphy

Katherine McLoughlin

Nicole Charlet

Amir Rahhal

Lyndsey Drea

Kate O’Sullivan

Noel Burke

Anne Campbell

Kieran Ryan

Kathleen Brogan

Noleen Duncan

Anne Crawford

Professor Mary Hickman

Katrina Byrne

Orion Fitzsimmons

Antonia Furniss

Declan Becton

Katy Bourke

Patricia Doherty

Anthea Clarke

Edivige Oliveira

Katy O’Shea

Patrick Roper

Anthony Palmer

Elizabeth Burden

Kathryn Lillis

Patrick Sheehan

Breda Cornish

Elilis Keeble

Louise Nolan

Padraig Neary

Ann Walsh

Emer Kelly

Luke Callinan

Paul (Rev) Bryne

Bea Gaunt

Elaine Kealy

Maeve Buckley

Peter Tiernan

Bernadette Lawlor

Eleanor O’Connell

Maire Duckett

Peter Mcnally

Breda Sullivan

Emma Twomey

Maite Gutierrez

Philip Fitzpatrick

Brid Breathnach

Emer Kelly

Margaret O’Connor

Professor Mary Hickman

Bernadette Nestor

Evan Long

Marguerite Mason

Rachel Daly

Bernadette Sexton

Faiza Ibrahim

Maria Loftus

Rita Murphy

Bridget Hyland

Fiona Marie Rae

Marie Burke

Rory McKenna

Bridget Kelly

Francesca Neal

Marie McMorrow

Rose Haddow

Caireann McElligott

Freda McKeon

Marion Boland

Rosamund Thunder

Bernadette O’Donoghue

Geraldine O’Regan

Marion Esfandiari

Ruairi O’Neill

Catherine Fairs

Geraldine Williams

Marion Faith - Fraser

Rumana Begum

Catriona Corley

Gina Cavalzani

Mary Allen

Ryan McCann

Catriona Conway

Gobnait Murphy

Mary Crossley

Sarah Colclough

Celia Cunney

Heidi Murphy

Mary Dowling

Sarah Horgan

Ciara Holland

Helena Angland

Mary McDonagh

Sarah Moriarty

Claire Gallagher

Ian McKim

Maura Clinton

Sean Kennedy

Catherine Phelan

Heidi Murphy

Maura Griffin

Sharon Donnelly

Cathy Berrie

Ian McKim

Melanie Black

Sinead Sweeney

Charmaine Doherty

Iria Rio

Maureen King

Sinead Nevin

Charlotte Curran

James Quinn

May Geasley Scherding

Siobhan Carty

Clare Gordon

James Ryan

Melanie Black

Siobhan Grant

Cliodhna O’Connor

Janet Donaghey

Michael Allen

Susan Gallivan

Clive McCrory

Jarleth Burke

Michael Bourke

Tigereba Meaza

Colin Sheehan

Jeanne Little

Michael Connolly

Violaine Le Breton

Colum Lawlor

Jer O’Mahony

Michael Young

Will Finn

Daire Fitzharris

Jim Quinn

Mike Nolan

David Kelly

Jo Kimber

Mike Taylor

David Perkins

Jude Bissett

Muireann Leonard


OUR PEOPLE 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 of the areas of our work. We would like to thank them for their energy, enthusiasm, and time in the past year.

Our Board

Seán Kennedy – Chair

Dermot Murphy

Maeve Buckley

Ian McKim

David Perkins

Evan Long – Treasurer

Lyndsey Drea

Prof. Mary Hickman

Bernadette Sexton

Aoife Walshe Director of Welfare

Cath Coleman Welfare Advice Worker

Kieran Ryan (not pictured)

Our Staff Team

Alison Gorman Arts and Online Officer

Angela O’Sullivan Outreach Worker


Carole Fox Social Club Coordinator & Advice Worker

Claire Ahern Finance Officer

Conor Darrall Executive Assistant

Dane Buckley Wellbeing Service Manager

David Barlow CEO

Frances Whelan Welfare Advice Worker

Gary Dunne Director of Arts and Culture

Helen Mannion Online Advice Worker

Lesley Ryan Welfare Advice and Duty Manager

Louisa Toland Welfare Advice Worker

Marcella Doyle Welfare Advice Worker

Margaret Kiely Administrator

Maria Connolly Day Services Support

Mary Gleeson Kilburn Older Persons Outreach Worker

Sarah Goodall Volunteer Service Manager

Sarah Jane Taylor Advice and Outreach Worker

Tracey Kemp Day Centre Cook


FUNDERS, FUNDRAISING & ACCOUNTS It would not be possible for us to carry out the range of services and activities that we provide without significant income from funders and support from individuals and organisations. 50% of our annual charitable operational costs need to be raised each year to add to the generous grants we receive from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Emigrant Support Programme to enable us to continue our work.


of our annual charitable operational costs need to be raised each year Following two years of investment in the main building and substantial legal costs for setting up the new charity, the organisation is now operating with a greatly reduced deficit and is working to return to operating surplus in 2015-16. This has been and will continue to be a challenge as sources of funding are harder to find and existing grants are reduced. We are pleased that we have been able to maintain quality services at an ever more efficient cost however we now need to invite the community to work with us to keep the charity sustainable and in a position to be innovative and able to face the growing needs of all sections of the Irish community that we serve especially the most vulnerable. Apart from maintaining services we also need considerable money each year to keep our main building, in Camden, fit for purpose. It costs over £150,000 every year to keep the rain out and the heat in! To meet the challenge of seeking new income, at a time that is less than rosy economically, the organisation set up a new fundraising committee which has begun to look at new ways of raising money.

Rohan and the McGrath Group for supplying us with removal and recycling services and Allied Irish Bank (GB) Ltd for sponsoring a publication. Each year we also get supported through the charitable work of Mrs Margaret Brown (pictured below, left). Margaret devotes much of her life to supporting socially excluded people in Dublin and across Ireland however she also holds events to raise money for the LIC’s wellbeing services for older Irish people. The donations are always very generous and incredibly appreciated. Finally we would like to thank all the other organisations and individuals who have helped us during the reporting period: Steel Charitable Trust; Margaret’s Fund; Mary Margaret Reardon; Eulogy; Sonas Recruitment Ltd; The Benevolent Society of St. Patrick; The London Borough of Camden; The Council of Irish County Associations; Culture Ireland; Kerry Emigrant Support & Housing; The Irish Youth Foundation; Ennis Town council; Irish Episcopal Council of Emigrants; St. Stephen’s Green Trust; JP McManus Foundation; London Irish Rugby Football Club; The London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham; Mr and Mrs Vaghefian and the hundreds of people who have given through bucket collections, raffles, personal donations, Just Giving and membership. THANK YOU

One major new addition to the charity’s year was the introduction of a charity fundraising ball. The first “Big Night Out” took place in May 2013 in partnership with The Laura Lynn Children’s Hospice in Dublin. The evening was supported by a number of people including Mitch Winehouse and his band, Ray D’arcy, from Ireland’s Today FM, who was MC for the event, Mick Flannery, Wallis Bird and Aisling Bea. Numerous individuals and organisations also supported us through the donation of items to auction and by purchasing dinner tickets. In December we were honoured to be the charity of the year at Leopardstown Christmas Race meet. This was a great occasion and supported the organisation through a donation and very good publicity for our welfare work. Such support and sponsorship really does make a huge difference to us and we would also like to thank Paul Hastings for supporting us through legal advice, Frank 19





Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Emigrant Support Programme £557,000 £448,500 Direct Charitable Expenditure Management, Administration and Cultural Total Resources Expended Net Incoming Resources Balances Carried Forward







(£29,387) £2,217,311

(£72,601) £2,246,698

Balance Sheet Fixed Assets Debtors Cash in Bank Creditors Net Current Assets











Total Assets less Liabilities £2,217,311 £2,246,698 Fundraising Efforts Large Donations





Fundraising Events



Recurring Donation


Individual Donations

Total Fundraising

Principal Funders





CONTACT US HEAD OFFICE 50–52 Camden Square, London NW1 9XB PHONE 020 7916 2222 FAX 020 7916 2638 EMAIL info@londonirishcentre.org

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OPENING HOURS Monday 9.30am – 12.30pm and 2.00pm – 4.00pm 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

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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)

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


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OPENING HOURS By appointment only

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



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


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West Kensington

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

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

www.londonirishcentre.org Registered Charity No. 1149787. Company No. 8221421.


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Profile for London Irish Centre

London Irish Centre Annual Report 2014  

London Irish Centre Annual Report 2014