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WELCOME Welcome to the London Irish Centre Annual Review 2012/13 We hope the following pages will give you a good overview of the enormous amount of work that has been undertaken in the reporting year, as well as the efforts that we have been making to ensure that all of our services, events and activities best meet the needs of the Irish community across London. From our inception in 1954, when we were a charity supporting the needs of newly arrived Irish emigrants, we have developed and revised our services with the times to ensure that the changing needs of the Irish community are met. Today we continue to provide a range of services and events for older people, many of whom have been connected to our organisation from its earliest days. In addition we are developing new ways to reach out to newer and often younger emigrants and also to second or third generation Irish people who value their cultural identity. Our new strategic plan was the result of widespread consultation and its purpose is to enable us all to work together to ensure that the organisation best meets the needs mentioned above. We strive to be a strong and viable organisation with a positive and engaging profile in both London and Ireland, to represent and support all sections of the Irish community, from the most vulnerable individuals to successful Irish businesses.






A MESSAGE FROM OUR CHAIR “Charity begins at home but should not end there” Thomas Fuller The period 2012/13 has been one of the most significant 12 months in the history of the organisation. Throughout the period we have been working with our colleagues from the board of the Irish Charitable Trust (ISAS/London Irish Care), staff and other stakeholders to prepare us for a full merger in April 2013. The combined charities have a wonderful record of 103 years of service to the Irish community in London and I look forward to reviewing the first year of the new enhanced charity in next year’s report. A further consequence of this merger was the adoption of a new constitution which the charity will be governed by – a vast amount of pro-bono time and effort was contributed by our legal advisor Jarleth Burke, for which we are extremely grateful. The new constitution came into effect in December 2013, prior to the launch of the new merged charity. The creation of the new constitution, merger and trustee appointments were three of our four board goals achieved, still in progress is the creation of a proper sub-committee structure – so perhaps an A- grade for the board this year! Our primary goal for the next 12 months is to help David Barlow, our CEO, in the delivery of the charity`s ambitious two year strategic plan. This is a targeted plan and successful delivery by mid 2015, will leave the new charity stronger and more stable. The five key objectives are outlined in our Strategic Plan 2013/15.

I believe the charity is in a good position today, our welfare services have been commended, our arts and culture programme is going from strength to strength, and the engagement of our volunteer corps is exceptional. I would like to thank David, his Senior Management Team and the staff and volunteers for 12 months of hard work and achievement. A special thanks to Jeff Moore who did a wonderful job as Director of Welfare. We were very sorry to see him leave and wish him success in his new post in Ireland. Many of the thousands who use the public areas of the Centre have commented positively on recent changes and our partners Off to Work have now been managing the catering, conference and bar facilities of the Centre for two years. This partnership is vital to the charity, in terms of management and income received and I am pleased that the partnership is continuing to develop. And of course – I wish to thank our funders without whom our work would cease. The Emigrant Support Programme, funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade, has continued to back the charity even as resources in Ireland become more scare. With increased numbers of new emigrants being seen at the charity and with costs of

repairing and maintaining the building rising, the support of our many other funders and supporters (listed on p22) is invaluable and tremendously appreciated. Last year I commented on the unpredictability of life at the LIC, no doubt the coming 12 months will be equally fascinating, particularly as we begin our work as a larger organisation with resources across a much broader area of London. 2014 also marks our Diamond Jubilee – the 60th year of the main Centre in Camden, and founding of the original charity. We look forward to this opportunity to acknowledge our achievements, to pay tribute to the many who built and developed the infrastructure that so many enjoy every week, to recognise the service of the Oblate Fathers, to plan for the future and to look forward to a year of celebration.

Seán Kennedy

Chair of the board of trustees 02

A MESSAGE FROM OUR CEO “Our advice team work tirelessly with ever stretched resources” We don’t always know in life how we influence other people, good or bad. One of the many great things about my role as CEO of the London Irish Centre is that I frequently get to meet with many individuals and organisations who have had a connection with us over the years. Being the largest Irish charity in Britain I get to meet many UK and Irish dignitaries, either as host or as their guest. This year I also got to meet Brendan. Brendan was homeless, he had come to London expecting work, a roof and the other basic means to live. Unfortunately his plans failed almost immediately and he was at the LIC for a shower and shave, a change of clothes from our store and some food vouchers. What I discovered was that what he really wanted was someone to talk to. Brendan explained how his life had fallen apart, how he wished he had stayed in Ireland and now no hope of returning without the ability to travel. The next morning we had arranged to repatriate Brendan back to an elderly relative’s home in Ireland where he would be warm, safe and able to begin rebuilding his life. Such situations are commonplace at the LIC and our advice team work tirelessly with ever stretched resources and ever increasing needs to ensure that all of our welfare clients are treated with dignity and respect. For 59 years we have endeavoured to meet the needs of the Irish community in London, and we now hope we can do this even more successfully with the publication of Fresh Perspectives: A Needs Analysis of the Irish Community in London. Led by our former Director of Welfare Jeff Moore, in partnership with our colleagues at Irish in Britain, this was the largest needs analysis of the Irish Community in London ever undertaken. This document was fundamental in the formation of our new strategic plan (p.1) which is shaping our work today and will continue to do so in the years ahead, ensuring that we provide cost effective services and activities that positively change and save lives. Another great thing about being at the heart of the LIC is the diversity of our work. Alongside our welfare work we are continuing to develop the organisation’s arts and cultural programme. Led by our Director of Arts and Culture, Gary Dunne, we have begun transforming the quality and range of events taking place at both our Camden head office and externally at events across London and Ireland. The launch in October 2012 of the first London Irish Comedy Festival was one of numerous new additions to our growing annual programme. It is important that the quality of both our events and educational courses are raised to the highest possible levels. Much time has been spent reviewing all of our “in-house” activities to ensure that everybody coming to the LIC can expect the optimum level of service and quality in a safe and professional environment. None of our work would be possible without the backing of numerous supporters, old and new. A full list of main funders can be seen on page 22. It is important that we continue to work in partnership with other agencies on joint projects and with sponsors and funders to enable our work to continue. I would like to thank all those who have supported us in the past year, whether by slipping some money in a collection tin or sponsoring a major event.

Finally, I once again thank the people of Ireland who, through the Emigrant Support Programme, enable us to support the elderly Irish community and reach out a hand to young people like Brendan, who I mentioned earlier. We value and celebrate tradition but we are also working to develop new services so that we can become the organisation of choice for the Irish business community in London, the organisation of choice for agencies wishing to promote all that we know is good about Ireland, be it tourism, food, culture and the arts. We also wish to be the organisation of choice for the growing number of new immigrants for whom social interaction is important as they settle into London. As I said, we don’t always know how we have influenced another person in our day to day, work but I very much hope that over the past 59 years we have made a positive difference. Once again I invite you, whether a funder, partner agency, individual or company to join with us as we take the London Irish Centre forward to continue to support Irish Community and Culture in London.

David Barlow Chief Executive


HIGHLIGHTS OF THE YEAR Our 59th year has proved to be just as busy, challenging and rewarding a year at the London Irish Centre as any which has preceded it. The days, weeks and months are always varied at LIC; as we work towards our goal of promoting Irish community and culture in London we may be giving advice both on-site and in the community, hosting some of the best in new Irish music, welcoming older persons to lunch in our Day Centre, or hanging a new exhibition from an Irish artist in our gallery space. As such it is always difficult to isolate just a few things which represent this rich variety of work, but here are some of our highlights. As we look forward to the completion of our amalgamation with Irish Charitable Trust, we were delighted to get to know our new colleagues better and to work with them across London, both in Camden and at their West London offices, and we are excited to work yet more closely together in the year to come. Indeed cooperation and partnership work continues to be a priority for us in all aspects of our work. This past year we have undertaken successful events with our commercial partners Off to Work, completed research projects with Irish in Britain, and delivered training with

London Irish Comedy Festival October 2012

icap (Immigrant Counselling and Psychotherapy). This year we have also teamed up at various points with The Irish Embassy, Goldsmith’s College, The British Museum, Éire Óg Gaelic Football Club, and London Irish Rugby Club to name a few, and looked forward to working closely with LauraLynn Children’s Hospice and Amy Winehouse Foundation on our Big Night Out charity fundraiser in May 2013, which we are sure will be a highlight for next year’s Annual Review! Community events and gatherings have also been a highlight of the year 2012/13; the first London Irish Comedy Festival took place in October 2012 and featured three days of laughter with some of Ireland’s leading comedians at the Centre. We were joined by Niall Breslin and members of London Irish Rugby Club to switch on our Christmas tree lights and enjoy some festive fun in December. Our Christmas Tea Dance saw coaches arriving to Camden Square from all over London to enjoy good food, music and some great dancing! Our St Patrick’s Day celebrations turned into a weekend affair, as we saw over 1,000 people visit the Centre for a mix of traditional and contemporary music and dance, family activities and fun (and we even made it to the Parade as well!)

Festive celebrations with Niall Breslin December 2012


The launch of Fresh Perspectives: A Needs Analysis of the Irish Community in London, produced in partnership with Irish in Britain, was a highlight for the Centre, as it provided a contemporary and comprehensive study of the real needs of the community we support, and a guide for directing our future work. Our welfare services were also delighted to be able to repeat the success of last year’s trip to Kerry, for those elderly Irish people who may not have the means to visit Ireland themselves, which was made possible by the kind generosity of Kerry Emigrant Support. Finally, we were delighted and honoured to welcome An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, along with Irish Ambassador H.E. Bobby McDonagh to the Centre in November. Mr Kenny spoke of his delight in visiting the Centre for the first time, and discussed the needs of Irish people in London with members of staff, seeing first hand the range of our operations, and meeting some of our clients. We now look forward to our 60th anniversary, and a year which we are confident will be just as full of valuable work, community spirit, cultural events, and the purpose, passion and enthusiasm which have characterised the The London Irish Centre for 59 years so far.

St Patrick’s Day March 2013

A visit from An Taoiseach Enda Kenny November 2012

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WELFARE 2012/13 has been another busy year for our Welfare Service; every day our advice workers are seeing clients and assisting them on a range of issues, from housing, to health, to employment and education. Our outreach team have been visiting and assisting those in need who cannot attend our drop-in sessions. Our Day Services continue to work to improve the health and quality of life of isolated older Irish people in London, while the London Irish Survivors Outreach Service (LISOS) continues to provide support to individuals who suffered abuse as children in Ireland’s industrial schools. Our accredited Welfare Service has also experienced many changes in the past 12 months; we have been formalising the merger with West London based Irish Care, which will substantially increase the reach of our welfare work, as well as introduce six new colleagues to our team. We have been preparing for the government’s welfare reform agenda which we expect to have a significant impact on our clients next year with the introduction of housing benefit caps, local council tax support schemes, stricter qualifying rules for those applying for employment and support allowance (previously incapacity benefit) and the introduction of the ‘bedroom tax’. We have already seen an increase in the number of home visits and site visits which have increased by 23% over the last year. We have continued to be successful in assisting clients in taking up their full benefit and as a result 43% more households assisted by us increased their income over the last year. However we expect that welfare reforms will give rise to further increases in demand for our services and an increase in the need for more in-depth casework and appeals work we undertake on behalf of clients. There is also likely to be an increase in the number of enquiries about debt as we expect that those already finding it difficult to meet day to day living expenses will find it increasingly challenging with reductions in their benefit entitlement. We have already seen an increase in the number of appeals undertaken by our caseworkers and we take pride in the fact that we have an 80% success rate in supporting clients with appeals. Some 40% of our clients have mental illness and these very

vulnerable clients are least able to cope with the impact of welfare reform; consequently we are likely to experience an increase in clients becoming or being threatened with homelessness. Our telephone and email advice services have proved very popular, particularly from clients in Ireland hoping to emigrate to the U.K. We find information on our website is very useful as it gives us an opportunity to communicate practical steps that people wishing to emigrate need to take, and helps to set realistic expectations of life in London, including job opportunities, housing costs, and benefit entitlement. We attribute the success of these service to the popularity of our online booklet ‘Moving to London’ which has proved invaluable to anyone thinking of leaving Ireland for the U.K. We still see people coming from Ireland who are very ill prepared or have unrealistic expectations, with mental health problems, substance misuse issues or who are fleeing violence. These clients require immediate and substantial support. In some cases living in the U.K is just not a viable option and we are indebted to the Benevolent Society of St Patrick, whose generosity enables us to assist in repatriating the most vulnerable. The cost and shortage of housing is one of our greatest challenges and we are grateful to Innisfree Housing Association, Irish Centre Housing and Mr Sean Doherty (a private provider) for their help in this area over the years; however demand greatly exceeds supply and we are constantly in need of affordable housing for our single clients.

“I was advised to go to the LIC by a friend. I was in a terrible state when I first went there… I was completely stressed and at, one stage, I even thought of suicide… (now) our future is much brighter and I feel much more optimistic about it. It helps to know that I can always go to LIC for help if I need it.” 06

Welfare Case Study

James and Declan visited the centre in June of this year; they had both recently arrived from Leitrim: James was a qualified fitter whilst Declan was in his last year of an engineering course at University in Dublin. James hoped to make his move to London permanent, Declan was only interested in staying until September. Both clients were under 25 years old and, although they had some money, they had greatly underestimated the cost of housing, transport and the length of time it may take to find employment. We advised James and Declan about the need for a National Insurance Card, a CSCS card if they wished to work on a construction site and we arranged interviews for them to obtain both. We made an appointment for them to attend our employability service where they got advice and updated their CVs. With the help of Innisfree Housing Association, we were able to secure housing for both James and Declan in the same property in Ealing. Two weeks after arriving one of our trustees managed to secure an offer of employment for James, happily both young men were in full time employment at that stage. Declan commented “We only came to LIC for advice on getting a national insurance number, I cannot believe what they did for us and we are really grateful, we could not have stayed in London for long without the help we got. Everyone we met at LIC was welcoming, understanding and professional”

Welfare service achievements by numbers









Client visits (home and site visits)

Older people advised about benefits, housing and care related to old age

Households assisted to increase benefit income

Number of older Irish people rehoused in sheltered housing

Young people supported

Assited with emergency housing

Older Irish people received help with health services from referral to treatment

“When my wife died, for the first time in my life I felt lonely and I would just sit indoors. I started to attend the Day Centre for the lunches but soon I joined in with the activities and the day trips. I’ve met new friends and I really feel it if I miss a day.”

Older Irish people helped to engage in social inclusion opportunities such as befriending

“Through attending the Arts & Crafts sessions I feel that a door to a whole new world has been opened for me”


Day Services 90% of our clients said they had more friends thanks to the Day Services

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 ■ computer classes ■ art classes ■ information days on health ■ day trips

■ activities such as bingo, quizzes and cookery workshops ■ a healthy living group ■ holidays and short breaks ■ support with terminal illness

■ gentle exercise sessions

Day Service achievements by numbers



elderly Irish had access to health services improved thanks to our advice

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



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


clients improved their computer skills

people felt their quality of life improved as a result of participating in art classes


NHS professionals hold information sessions at the centre


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, and working with these, as well as health care professionals and family members means that our outreach workers can ensure each client’s long term needs are met. This can include helping them to get access to their entitlements and facilitating housing adaptations. In many cases befrienders from our team of volunteers become involved, which also provides opportunities for social inclusion.

The London Irish Survivors Outreach Service (LISOS) The LISOS Project has been developed to provide a targeted and individualised service addressing the particular and complex needs of survivors of Institutional Abuse in Ireland, now living in the U.K. Since 2001, LISOS has worked to provide a lifeline for many survivors as part of the London Irish Centre’s service to the Irish Community. LISOS provides for the holistic needs of clients, acting as key worker and advocate, with a combination of care and support, both practical and emotional, in representing clients, expressing their needs and fighting for their rights and entitlements in a confidential environment. LISOS discretely bridges the link to counselling and therapy services as well as other services at LIC such as Welfare & Housing Advice and use of the Day Centre. For the past 2 years LISOS has facilitated a Learning Programme for survivors in a private, supportive and non-judgemental atmosphere where people feel respected and valued, leading to an improvement in quality of life of participants. To date we offer: ■ Computer classes: one session caters for beginners while the other is for improvers or more experienced learners. ■ Assertiveness & Positive Thinking ■ One-to-one literacy sessions ■ Creative Writing ■ Arts & Crafts ■ Knitting Circle ■ Games/Puzzles (scrabble etc) 09




people celebrated St. Patrick’s Weekend with us.


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


social dances and events for older Irish people were held.


Irish community organisations were provided with free space.

For almost 60 years, The London Irish Centre has been supporting Irish community and culture in London. We do this by both running events that showcase the very best Irish culture to London audiences and by offering a lovely taste of home to the city’s Irish community. This work continued and grew during the period that this review covers. What would an Irish Centre be without music and dance? We ran sold-out concerts with artists like Andy Irvine, John Spillane, Damien Dempsey and more. We also hosted the largest festival of Irish traditional music, song and dance, during the 14th Return to Camden Town in October. Of course there were countless traditional Irish music sessions. We also partnered with our friends in Comhaltas Britain in running brilliant community concerts and worked with long-standing supporters of Irish culture on singarounds, set dances and céilís. Excellent London-based Irish groups like Avalonia, The London Lasses and Crossharbour filled our rooms with their wonderful music. We were also honoured to be asked to curate a concert of the very best of London’s Irish music scene at the Tradfest Festival in Dublin. The concert in City Hall was a sell-out. Through the 12 months in question, we continued to support independent Irish theatre in London. We did this through hosting and promoting fringe shows, providing heavily discounted rehearsal space and even launching new drama classes. We also worked with a collective of fine Irish actors in celebrating ‘Bloomsday’. To strengthen our promotion of Irish writing and literature in London, we continued our monthly London Irish Book Club. (All are welcome to this free event.) We also hosted a number of book launches, readings and showcases as part of Ireland’s Presidency of the EU in early 2013. We were delighted to receive a number of large donations of Irish books, which will form the basis of a new Irish Reading Room in late 2013. This will be an excellent, free resource to students and lovers of Irish culture and community. As we are in one of the cultural capitals of the world, we actively seek out creative, exciting and mutually beneficial partnerships. During this particular period, we enjoyed working with The British Museum, Goldsmith’s College, The Irish Embassy, London Irish Rugby, Cecil Sharp House, Éire Óg Gaelic Football Club and IFTA London. 11

Of course summer 2012 brought Olympic fever to London. We flew the flag for Ireland and Irish culture through partnership events with Camden Council, LOCOG and the Irish Olympic House. A summer to remember. Our education programme had a busy year. Every term, on average 150 people took a class in either Irish language, music or dance with us. We are especially pleased with our improved provision for young people and are planning to build further on this in the coming years. Our charity invested a lot of time and resources in to strengthening relationships with long-standing social and cultural groups that engage with the LIC. We worked to ensure that everything that happens under the LIC banner is accessible and of good quality. Another exciting development was the establishment of a gallery space in our Hub Café, which gives us the opportunity to showcase Irish visual arts to the many thousands of people that visit our premises every month. Expect quarterly exhibitions of quality work. We have worked closely with our venue management partners in making sure that our clients, customers and audiences receive a top quality experience. Recent improvements have included a new online box office, better sound and lighting at live shows and excellent food, drink and hospitality. A highlight of our year was our annual St. Patrick’s Day Festival. We provided three days and nights of Irish culture, community and craic at our premises in Camden but also joined the celebrations at the Mayor of London’s London St. Patrick’s Parade and Festival. 2012 also saw the launch of a new flagship event, The London Irish Comedy Festival. Co-founded with Festival Manager Maria Schweppe, and hosted here at the LIC, the festival brings the very best Irish comedians to Camden Town for a weekend of laughs. Year one was a huge success.


Almost people are connected to our online communities Our website and social networks continued to be a busy hive of activity and connection for the city’s Irish community in London. The almost 20,000 people that are plugged in to our networks are providing a supportive, informative and fun community for both new and longer-term emigrants. Finally, some words of thanks. To our arts freelancers and volunteers who gave more than we could have hoped for – thank you. Also to the audiences that came to experience our charity’s work – thank you for endorsing and supporting us. And to our funders especially the Irish government’s Emigrant Support Programme, go raibh míle maith agaibh. Here’s to another year of top quality Irish culture and community at the London Irish Centre. See upcoming events at londonirishcentre.org. 12

VENUE HIRE With our second year behind us at The London Centre we are delighted to report very positive developments as we look to provide both the Irish Community and local commercial hirers with a venue resource they can be proud of. One of the most obvious changes is in our trading name at the Centre with the development from Off to Work to Sliced Events. This was brought in to give our service at the Centre its own personality and defined look and feel. It has also helped to clarify and reassure users as to who is delivering the services, rather than any confusion as to whether the operator was a training facilitator or a venue management team.

This clearer brand has allowed us to further establish the quality and reputation of our services delivering a higher number of events to the venue than previously seen and equally exceptional feedback from users. This drive for quality has seen us take on new personnel with our new Venue Manager, Mark O’Hagan, helping to drive up the quality of our services. Mark also has the support of our new Service Development Director, Matt Hubbard, who, with 10 years as an Operations Director for a high-end caterer in London, brings exceptional experience and support to the team. This quality drive has also been matched with a desire to integrate the ever more diverse users of the Centre, and make the Centre accessible to every area of the Irish and local community. To this end we have been delighted to host a whole range of events from numerous local and Irish weddings, christenings, wakes, birthday parties, Association dinners, school graduation balls and local residents and Irish Association Meetings. We have also been delighted to welcome back boxing nights to the Centre after many years of absence, to show live Irish Rugby, Football and GAA games, and equally (at the other end of the spectrum!) receptions for the Irish Embassy.

We have also continued the development of the Centre with the Old Chapel being returned to its rightful state and the Library being upgraded. We have also commenced work on the outside of the building and we are very grateful for the London Irish Centre’s investment in the newly appointed kitchens. We are again adding to this to allow us to continue our commitment to providing the very best home cooked food and service to users of the Centre. We have also seen our training offer continue to expand during the year and we are launching a new initiative in October with the charity Catch 22 providing financial support to those who want to develop a career in hospitality. This will add to our large range of vocational and accredited courses that we offer at the centre. The year has also seen momentum build between the London Irish Centre Culture team and Sliced Events team, generating an excellent culture programme for the community. We were extremely proud to be involved in

a number of first time initiatives including the first ever London Irish Comedy Festival. These have built on the success of other joint ventures including the Christmas Gathering evening, the open-to-all St Patrick’s weekend celebrations and the ever-popular Return to Camden Town Festival. We have also been delighted to be a Gallery space for some beautiful artwork and photography. We are proud to be the events service supplier at the London Irish Centre and to see it become an ever more vibrant and engaging centre for the Irish and local community. We are equally delighted to be supporting the fantastic work of the welfare team. We look forward to welcoming you to the centre be it for a private celebration, an educational course, any one of the fantastic cultural occasions on offer, or simply a warming cappuccino in the Hub.

Philip Atkins

Founder and Director, Off to Work 13


VOLUNTEERING Our volunteers have played a vital role in the London Irish Centre since its inception in 1954. There are many reasons which prompt people to volunteer; it may be to learn new skills, make new friends, or give time to the community. Whatever the reason, we try to do everything we can to make volunteering with us a truly positive and worthwhile experience.

Volunteers The London Irish Centre had a roster of 141 volunteers this year, an increase of 67% on 2011/2012. The economic value of the time they provided the organisation was £250,000 – which is also a massive increase on the previous year. The number of volunteering roles within the centre increased to 26, including Debt Advice Officer and Employability Officer as part of a new Employability and Debt Service within the Welfare Team.


volunteers at the London Irish Centre

£250,000 is the economic value of our volunteers time

26 new volunteering roles have been created

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Volunteers are supported in a number of ways. Training offered included a day-long Dementia Workshop run by Dr Mary Tilki from Irish in Britain, a nationally recognised two day training, Mental Health First Aid, provided by Voluntary Action Camden. Several volunteers also attended the Institutional Abuse Training at LIC. A Volunteer Celebration after the 2012 Annual General Meeting was held thanking volunteers for their dedication. Volunteers also received thank you certificates as well as a Summer and Christmas party. On October 23rd 2012 as part of ‘Make a Difference Day’, a national volunteering event, a team of volunteers from the Department of Work and Pensions deep cleaned the Welfare clothes room. They sized and sorted all the clothes and reorganised the room. 33 bin bags of clothes that were not suitable for the welfare clients but still of use were donated to Textile Recycling for Aid. The clothes room was then ready for Welfare Staff to use to provide warm clothing for clients in need during the cold winter months.


Befriending Service

The Befriending Service was audited and passed the Approved Provider Standard with the Mentoring and Befriending Foundation (MBF) in January 2013. The service also started stage one of the Monitoring and Evaluation Project for Befriending Schemes (also with MBF). By mid-2013 LIC will have up to date research on the service for the first time. 64 clients were visited over the year by befrienders. We began to see an increase in the number of external referrals to the service, including for clients with higher level needs such as people with mental health issues and dementia. Several clients later reported Safeguarding issues either via their befrienders or to the Volunteer Coordinator directly. On several occasions clients were also additionally referred and supported by the Outreach Team as their urgent needs were not being met. Some people we have helped: ■ A  man in his 60’s living alone who had suffered a stroke resulting in partial paralysis and aphasia. He had lost confidence since leaving hospital and was no longer going out. His volunteer went for short walks with him to help him regain his confidence and mobility. ■ A  blind woman in her 90’s who moved into a residential home after several falls at home. She had not settled in well and her health was failing fast. Her befriender visited weekly to read the local paper to her and offer friendship.

Handy Person Service

Missing Persons Service Kerry Trip

Several DIY tasks were carried out by our DIY Handy Persons volunteer, including assembling furniture for a client with cancer, cleaning windows for a housebound elderly woman so she could enjoy her view, and cutting back hedges for a client who had a stroke and could not use his path to leave his house as the garden had become overgrown.

In the past year, we have helped with 60 cases of missing persons, including in one case helping a family find where their loved one is buried.

The LIC and the Kerry Emigrant Support (KES) have organised an annual holiday to Ballybunion, Kerry, for several years.The holiday is for older Irish people who would not be able to return to Ireland without support both financially and emotionally. The 2012 trip took 26 older people, a large percentage of whom were survivors of institutional abuse, people with mental health issues and/or alcohol addiction. The trip had very positive outcomes for clients, for some it was their first trip to Ireland in over 20 years, and was a very emotional journey.


Our Volunteers Aideen Naylon Ailbhe McCabe Ann Walsh Anne Campbell Anthea Clarke Bernadette Lawlor Bernadette Nestor Bridget Hyland Bridget Kelly Caireann McElligott Bernadette O’Donoghue Caroline Halton Catherine Phelen Cathy Berrie Catriona Corley Catriona Conway Celia Cunney Charmaine Doherty Ciara Holland Claire Reilly Claire Gallagher Claire Prendeville Cliodhna O’Connor Collin O’Connor Conal Brennan David Perkins Denis Connolly Dermott Murphy Donna Condon Eleanor O’Connell Emma Twomey Erika Hayes Evan Long Fiona Marie Rae Francesca Neal Freda McKeon Geraldine O’Regan Gina Cavalzani Gobnait Murphy Heidi Murphy Helena Angland Helena Bohane (Sister) Ian McKim Iria Rio Jude Bissett James Quinn Jenny Jordon Jarleth Burke Jer O’Mahony Jim Quinn Jude Bissett Julia Howard (Sister) Julie Quinn Julie Hogan Judith Murphy Karen Byrne

Kate O’Sullivan Kathleen Brogan Katrina Byrne Katy O’Shea Kealan Connolly Kirsten Teague Lucy Coogan Luke Callinan Maeve Buckley Maire Duckett Margaret O’Connor Marguerite Mason Marion Esfandiari Marion Faith - Fraser Mary McDonagh Mary Allen Mary Dowling Maura Clinton May Christina Geasley Scherding Maureen King Michael Bourke Michael O’Keeffe Michael Sills Michael Allen Mike Nolan Mike Taylor Muireann Leonard Niamh Lyons Nicole Charlet Noirin Byrne Patricia Doherty Patrick Roper Patrick Sheehan Paul Bryne Peter Tiernan Peter Mcnally Philip Fitzpatrick Rita Murphy Robert Healy Rory McKenna Rose Haddow Ruth Connolly Ryan McCann Sean Kennedy Sarah Moriarty Sean O’Tarpaigh Shirley O’Sullivan Sinead Sweeney Siobhan Carty Siobhan Grant Stephen Bradley Steve Whidle Suganavathana Praisoody Wael El-Ali Zeray Khassy 17 01

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

David Perkins

Evan Long – Treasurer

Jarleth Burke – Legal Adviser

Angela O’Sullivan Outreach Worker

Carole Fox Social Club Coordinator & Advice Worker

Ian McKim

Our Staff Team

Alison Gorman Executive Assistant

Dane Buckley Day Services Manager


David Barlow CEO

Frances Whelan Welfare Advice Worker

Claire Ahern Finance Officer

Gary Dunne Director of Arts and Culture

Gerry Carty Director of Development and Finance

Jenny Dunne Director of Welfare

Katie Westbrook Welfare 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

Marie Aubertin LISOS Coordinator

Mary Gleeson Outreach Worker

Mary Kelly Community Coordinator

Mary Loughrey Outreach Worker

Melanie O’Rourke Welfare Advice Worker

Sarah Goodall Volunteer Coordinator

Sarah Jane Taylor Advice and Outreach Worker

Tracey Kemp Day Centre Cook


WEST KENSINGTON Moving to the new London Irish Centre – the perspective from West Kensington. The view from Dermot Murphy, former Chair of Trustees of The Irish Charitable Trust and current Trustee of The London Irish Centre

In Summer 2012, London Irish Care opened in new offices in West Kensington, changing its name from the Irish Support and Advice Service, and leaving the Hammersmith Irish Cultural Centre after nearly twenty years. The service was originally set up in 1970 in the basement of St Augustine’s Priory in Hammersmith, and provided housing and help for newly arrived immigrants from Ireland. In its first year it saw 456 Irish clients, plus another 55 from countries all over the world; two thirds of these clients were living in Hammersmith & Fulham. Later the Irish Charitable Trust was established and registered to manage the work of the service. Over the years the service has adapted to the changing needs of the communities it serves, and in recent years has dealt much more with the welfare and social needs of older Irish people, as well as expanding its work into five boroughs. In its early years the service was funded very largely by the Irish community in Hammersmith. Gradually it became more dependent on grants to sustain its operation, especially the large and generous grant from the Emigrant Support Programme of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. For several years now, securing the future of the service and fundraising have been the major preoccupations of the Trust, as they are for almost all charities today. Our clients have continued to grow in numbers, and their feedback makes it clear how valuable the service is to them. We could not let them down. Three years ago we began discussions with the London Irish Centre about the potential value and feasibility of merging the two charities. Mutual trust was established early on; we all felt that we had shared goals, that the service came before any individual interests, and that the new charity would be better prepared and suited to meet the challenges ahead. The new London Irish Centre is vibrant, changing, and well-prepared to develop and continue the service our clients value so much.

The view from the West London staff team

London Irish Care moved into the refurbished Avonmore Library in West Kensington in July 2012. We now feel very much at home in our new surroundings, and are as busy as ever, both with advice on-site at West Kensington, and advice, outreach and activities covering a wide scope of South and South-West London. Throughout the merger process between London Irish Care and The London Irish Centre, there has been an increase in joint-working across the organisations; many of our groups have travelled to the Camden site to take part in music and dancing at tea dances and other events. Staff across both organisations have also been getting to know each other better, with joint meetings, training and social events. This has been a positive experience all round, with staff able to share their knowledge and experience.



FUNDERS, FUNDRAISING & ACCOUNTS It would not be possible for us to carry out our vital community work without our funders and supporters. Our largest funder is the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Emigrant Support Programme, and we also rely on the financial support of charitable foundations, businesses and individual contributions and donations. The reality that our key funders are under a lot of pressure in trying to ensure that their funding levels to the LIC continues, and we’re exceptionally grateful to them for doing so.

The year that’s passed

Despite these challenging times the LIC managed again to increase our overall revenue which is a major achievement in this current difficult climate. We have had some success in attracting new donors and attracting increased revenue from donations and rental income. Also through our bar and catering agreement with Off to Work (Sliced Events), we are seeing the benefits of investments made in the Centre and continuing to develop this key partnership. Expenditure has also increased however, with increases in the cost of our welfare service delivery and continued legal and professional expenditure as we worked to complete the merger with The Irish Charitable Trust, and update our governance documents for the new charity accordingly. We see this as a key investment in the successful future of the organisation as we spread our areas of work and modernise the charity. Other key investments in the charity this year were a revamp of our kitchens to ensure they are up to date and fit for purpose for our venue hire. Though the charity’s premises are certainly among its key assets, it requires considerable funding to maintain and improve the Centre in order to ensure they are fit for professional service delivery. Indeed one of our key targets for 2013/2014 is to raise additional funds to carry out much needed work on the premises, including the redecoration of the façade. We also hired two additional staff as an additional cost, a Development Manager to look at future income generation and an Executive Assistant to support the day to day running of the charity. The coming year is a key year for the LIC as we try to capitalize on the investments made in the previous financial years while also gaining funding for the continuous improvement of the premises and our service delivery.

Thank you to Our Funders and Supporters The LIC 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; The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Emigrant Support Programme), The Benevolent Society of St. Patrick, The London Borough of Camden, The Council of Irish Counties Association, The Amy Winehouse Foundation, The McGrath Group, London Irish RFC, Coolmore Stud, Murphy Construction, Brian Kennedy, A.P. McCoy, Paul Costelloe, Macai Projects Ltd., C.J. O’Shea, Bugler Developments, Culture Ireland, Kerry Emigrant Support and Housing, Steel Charitable Trust, The Irish Youth Foundation, Ennis Town Council, Tony Langdon, McDonnell, Irish Episcopal Council of Emigrants, The Department Of Education and Skills, St. Stephen’s Green Trust and JP McManus Foundation for their support and generous donations.

The London Irish Centre depends on these donations in the continuing provision of our vital, sometimes life saving, services for the Irish community in London. We would also like to thank Paul Hastings for all of their pro-bono legal work throughout the year. Again this 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, contact Gerry on Telephone 020 7916 2222 Email info@londonirishcentre.org Visit www.londonirishcentre.org/support-us. 22


Statement of Financial Activities



Total Income

£982,330 £951,174

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Emigrant Support Programme



Direct Charitable Expenditure



Management, Administration and Cultural





Net Incoming Resources



Balances carried forward



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

£2,207,443 £2,213,479 £58,549 £19,624 £333,108 £425,191 -£352,402 -£338,995 £39,255 £105,820 £2,246,698 £2,319,299

Total Resources Expended

Fundraising Efforts Large donations Individual donations Fundraising events Recurring donations

£37,976 £4,784 £524 £909

£9,644 £6,500 £2,500 £1,061

Total Fundraising



Principal Funders


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

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


facebook.com/londonirishcentre 24


With generous support from AIB

Profile for London Irish Centre

London Irish Centre Annual Report 2013  

London Irish Centre Annual Report 2013