Update #6 - Chair of Trustees

Update #6 - From the Chair of Trustees

The London Irish Centre charity (April 2016)


Dear All – welcome to our sixth update from the Board of Trustees of The London Irish Centre charity.  I’m delighted to provide a brief report from our most recent Board of Trustees meeting together with a summary of other interesting developments at the LIC.


  1. Board meeting 7th March 2016 – 6.30 pm

Trustees present were Sean Kennedy (Chair), Dermot Murphy, Mary Hickman, Ian McKim, Evan Long, Lyndsey Drea, Kieran Ryan and Bernadette Sexton together with CEO Ian McLintock.




CEO: Ian McLintock presented an overview of operations


Following a short strategic exercise, an Emerging Strategy paper has been written and used to inform the drafting of the business plan and budget, and associated risk management and contingency plans.  The intention is to produce a full strategic paper later in 2016.              


For FY16/17, we are focussing on building on the Board’s current 15/16 strategy to develop efficiency and effectiveness, launch associated fundraising and communications initiatives, plus some high value projects with limited cost (staffing and funding) by making maximum use of LIC accommodation space and volunteers.  In particular, enhancing our web led welfare delivery and increasing employment opportunities.  On the building side, the library will open and we will also open an activities room in the Kennedy Hall. Discussions are ongoing about budget targets for this coming year – there is a great need to rebuild our reserves however with ongoing funding cuts and increased demand this is a delicate balancing act to perform.


Ian reported on his CEO Targets – the majority of goals are on target, however fundraising, IT and the database rollout are rated as amber (need attention). A new fundraiser post is being explored in order to increase capacity in this crucial area.


Arts and Culture projects:  Gary Dunne reported on the current arts and culture projects

  • The Abbey, Ireland’s national theatre, production of ‘Of This Brave Time’ at the LIC in March, was a huge success, as was ‘A Fit Wife for a Revolutionary’.  These were part of our 1916 Centenary Programme, which includes music, theatre, festivals, book launches and exhibitions., See arts reports for full overview.

  • A new high-quality 8-page seasonal brochure has been created which will be available in hard copy and online.

  • St Patrick’s Day was a huge success.  We were actively involved in events at Trafalgar Square, with both Aoife and Gary, our directors, being interviewed by RTE.  On the day itself some 350+ people enjoyed a succession of live music, dancing and Irish food at the LIC from 12pm to late in the night.  Media coverage of our events reached 1 million people.     

  • Following attendance analysis, we’ve worked out that arts and community events bring over 30,000 people to the LIC per year.

  • The new Irish Library will open on April 18th. This will be an entirely new string to the LIC bow and will provide a great new cultural resource to the Irish in London. The Ceann Comhairle, Irish Ambassador and Head Librarian from the British Library will attend the opening, which will be covered by RTE.

  • We have successfully bid for €15,00 from Culture Ireland for a two-day festival on Jun 24th-25th. Leading Irish poets and musician will perform alongside RTE’s Contempo String Quartet.

  • We have recruited 5 new arts volunteers and 7 library volunteers. Induction process for both library and arts volunteers are now being refreshed.

  • Our new event feedback survey is now operational and will go out to attendees of all event.  Our survey of Irish language students returned 100% satisfaction rates and 100% of students rated course quality as high to very high


Welfare and advice projects: Aoife Walshe reported on the multiple projects delivered by the team at Camden, West Kensington, Ealing, Kilburn, by phone and online.

  • AW presented at the Team Around the Practice meeting.  TAP is an innovative partnership between Mind in Camden and Tavistock & Portman NHS Trust.  The TAP service is particularly aimed at people who are feeling stuck, socially isolated, very low, anxious, or who are experiencing persistent pain or a sense of being overwhelmed.  The service is open for those who are aged 18 or over and are registered with a Camden GP.

  • An application was submitted for IYF’s Standard Grant stream to the value of £9,657.

  • AW attended the Road Home – A presentation by Irish in Britain’s Policy Advisory Group which included a great talk by Oisin McConville.  

  • AW and Jim Fearnley held a meeting Emma Meagher from James McSweeney Solicitors.  The solicitors have offered to be a point of contact for LIC advice workers in sourcing Irish legal information.

  • Cath Coleman attended Irish in Britain forum where there was an advisor from DWP who gave out information regarding changes to Pensions.

  • Increased number of homeless people presenting, probably due the colder weather this month. Very little availability in cold weather shelters.  We already provide support for homeless people, but the LIC has come together with other organisations to identify what else might be done.  The LIC CEO will be competing in an extreme sports event to help raise funds.

  • A meeting with Camden Council was held in relation to the closure of the IT project.  Unfortunately, there is no further funding available under this measure.

  • Camden drop in – 43 new drop-in clients.

  • Befriending -  Referrals have now been reopened for new clients.  Work on the standards for the Mentoring and Befriending Foundation begin in March.  10 new referrals received.

  • Day Centre - A feedback survey has been completed and results available.  Dane and Maria will be taking a group of vulnerable clients (16-18) some of whom are recovering from terminal illness to St Ives in early April. 423 meals served and 7 new referrals in the last month.

  • Social Groups -  New strength and balance program has started.  High-tea in Camden for 52 from our social groups/119 feedback surveys were completed /23 places at our social groups were taken up.

  • Missing Persons - The service received 7 enquiries in February/39 currently ongoing searches.


Volunteering projects: Sarah Goodall reported on new volunteering uptake

  • The service has been increasingly busy due to the new more skilled roles advertised. There has been more need for evening and weekend working from the Project Manager to meet the demand.   A volunteer interview session held with the Arts team staff in early February.  There will be a volunteer social Thursday 10th March at La Porchetta  - so far 23 people are attending.

  • 37 volunteering enquiries/12 applications received and being processed (over double that of last month/11 new volunteers inducted in two sessions (more than double last month).


Big Night Out charity fundraiser: This was a huge success. The event sold out 8 weeks in advance and there were over 250 attendees. Dermot O` Leary, our Patron, delivered a wonderful speech talking about life in the UK as a second generation Irish and his memories of spending time as a child in his native Wexford. We were very pleased to raise in the region of £35,000 (net) which exceeded our £30,000 target. We received a cheque for €2500 from our Honorary Life Member Margaret Brown and a late charitable donation from goalkeeping legend Pat Jennings raised €900. Lots of thanks to everyone on the committee including volunteers Josie Mc Geady and Jim Quinn as well as Caroline McLaughlin and our event organiser Anna Brennan from Little Missevents and Millie Cortizo from Media Spaces whose team made our hugely successful video.  It was downloaded thousands of times in the first day alone, circulated globally by Global Irish and we’ve had incredibly positive feedback from as far away as Ethiopia.






We also took the opportunity to show a new video highlighting the work we do http://bit.ly/LICVideo. Do have a look and pass it on to your friends.


Finance: Our cash reserves are being managed more proactively and generating income. The charity is still on course for a very small surplus this year and cash flow is being managed with a facility being organised to manage cash flow over the summer while the charity await the major ESP grant funding in late July/early August.


Building and Premises Committee: Chair Sean Kennedy reported that a new letting to a homeless charity was signed, 1st March to the Single Housing Project. This charity provides an excellent fit with our own welfare work and further diversifies our income. Our building income has increased from apx. £60,000 in 2010 to £310,000 now. We have engaged a property consultant to negotiate with Network Rail on the development of the garages and will report later on the year on this.


Chair: The board were delighted to formally approve Nyall Jacobs as a new trustee, to be ratified at our AGM. Nyall, from Dublin, is a Chartered Accountant and a partner in accountancy firm CBW. Our current treasurer and trustee Evan Long will be stepping down shortly after 6 years of dedicated service.


Our committee structure was discussed and it was agreed to set up an additional committee – Audit with a remit to carry out oversight and review of our strategy, business plans and appraisals. Bernadette Sexton and Ian Mc Kim have agreed to serve on this committee.


There will be further discussion on setting up a Development Committee to assist CEO/SMT on fundraising.


The trustees` terms of office is coming to an end this year and we are currently auditing the board skills as a first step to deciding on relevant skills required by the board. We will then advertise for a certain number of new trustees.


Nyall Jacobs, ACA



Interim Strategic Plan: The updated plan was reviewed. It was decided that this be updated again at year end to remove completed and superseded items, with the remainder prioritise and carry forward into a work plan for 16/17. The board was invited to review and agree the core objectives in the 16/17 business plan. A number of important points were agreed that we would be looking at multi-year project planning; our yearly objectives will be driven by our emerging strategic aims; we would focus on doing less really well; outcomes would be driven significantly by stakeholder feedback; there should be an equitable responsibility from everyone who uses the centre to help us and contribute to our charitable aims; strategic, annual, appraisal and work plans would be integrated so that all would drive efficiency and effectiveness in the same direction with smart metrics embedded into the detailed plans.


Community Consultation: this is a key part of the pre-work for the next strategic plan. Mary Hickman and Dermot Murphy are leading on this. It was agreed that the week ending 12th of March 2016 Dermot and Mary would bring together the online unwritten consultation data, to produce a report by the end of March 2016.


  1. RTE Archives


RTE have released a wonderful video clip from an 1969 documentary about the Centre - http://www.rte.ie/archives/2014/0326/604635-no-room-at-the-palace-1964/

  1. Irish Community Library launch


On Monday 18th April the Kennedy Hall hosted Irish Ambassador Mulhall, the Ceann Comhairle Sean O Fearghail, former TD Michael Mc Carthy as well as 100 guests to cut the ribbon and launch the new Irish community library. The library owes a great deal to the efforts of many, see below. Chair of the Board of Trustees Sean Kennedy welcomed the guests and speeches followed by Michael Foley on behalf of the founding donors the Foley Family, as well as Ambassador Mulhall and Ceann Comhairle Sean O Fearghail. The library is the first stage in transforming part of the Kennedy Hall into a learning and resource centre for our community. Our wonderful Library volunteers were specially thanked for their hundreds of hours of work in setting the facility up.


  • The Foley family, for the founding donation

  • The brilliant team of LIC library volunteers, who have worked tirelessly to set the library up

  • The Members and staff of the Houses of the Oireachtas

  • The Chairman and members of the Joint Committee on the Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht

  • An Post for delivering the books

  • Sean Kennedy for a £5,000 library donation

  • The Irish Embassy for supplying the wine reception and for all the general advice Alma and the team give us on a regular basis

  • The various Irish publishers, local authorities, universities, sporting organisations, newspapers, magazines and public and private bodies that contributed from all 32 counties

  • Interleaf, for donating the library cataloguing software

  • Hannah Pender and of course our Arts Director Gary Dunne.






Warmest regards and if you do have any questions please contact me.


Sean Kennedy





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