Report to the LIC community from the Board

Dear All – welcome to our seventh 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 9th May 2016 – 6.30 pm to 9.00 pm.

Trustees present were Sean Kennedy (Chair), Dermot Murphy, Mary Hickman, Ian McKim, Evan Long, together with CEO Ian McLintock.

Apologies received from Lyndsey Drea, Kieran Ryan and Bernadette Sexton.

  1. OPERATIONAL REPORTS

CEO: Ian McLintock presented an overview of operations -

Following the departure of Aoife Walshe, the post of Director of Welfare is being advertised, Ian updated the board on the process which is proceeding satisfactorily. Aoife has now returned to Ireland and the board paid tribute to her work in welfare and on the SMT and wished her all the best in her career in Ireland.

The board discussed capacity around support to the SMT. Various options have been discussed and the board considered the possibility of the post of the fundraising executive or an office manager. It was agreed that Ian would offer an objective analysis on these two posts.

Ian provided further information on our ESP grant bid (the ESP grant, at £419,000 net, was our largest source of income). This funding is vital to the charity and constitutes approximately 40% of our charitable income. Ian reported a 22% increase in drop in numbers at Camden and some very significant and large recovery of benefits for welfare clients. Our trust bid process has improved and a total of 21 trust bids have been submitted in the last quarter.

Further fundraising highlights were analysed: our recent Big Night Out 3 which was our most successful yet, grossing £54,000, as well as a doubling of our Christmas appeal. In the coming year, we will hold 4 fundraising events; a cocktail party on 14 October, Big Night Out 4 in March 2017 and fundraisers by Dermot O’Leary and Patrick Kielty on dates to be agreed. Fundraising processes appear to be improving with greater capture of business and media contacts through LinkedIn (now standing at 1800) as well as a big increase in our targeted database.

ARTS and CULTURE PROJECTS: Gary Dunne reported on the current arts and culture projects -

  • Library. Our new Irish community library was officially opened by the Ceann Comhairle and Irish Ambassador on April 18th. The launch was supported by the Irish Embassy and was well-attended by members of the press, Irish community and Irish arts networks. We are now moving in to the post-launch phase of planning and managing activity through 1617. The library will be operated by volunteers but managed by the arts team. We are now working on Phase II, including the opening of a new activities room and potential work to improve the adjacent Kennedy Hall.

  • Arts Programme. We’re just coming out of an extremely busy few months for the arts team. We enjoyed great success at St. Patrick’s and the historic visit of the Abbey Theatre. We have also managed sold out Irish language courses, fringe theatre runs, exhibition launches and a number of new pop-up Irish cultural events. We expect FY 1617 to have a similar output in terms of quantity (income and attendance) but improved quality (production, customer feedback). The flagship summer event will be Céad, a new weekend festival of Irish arts in late June.

  • Volunteers. We now have over twenty volunteers working under the management of the arts team. They are working primarily as event assistants and library workers, but we are also working closely with comms and marketing volunteers. We will update induction systems for all roles in the coming months.

  • Systems. We have introduced a number of new systems to manage the flow of arts enquiries and comms. These include online event submission forms, to collate data from those wishing to host events at the LIC. Also, marketing supporting request forms, for those looking for promotional support.

  • The Venue. We have been working closely with the CEO and OTW to create an improved Irish cultural feel throughout the building. This is most evident in the new Library space, but will be rolled out throughout the building, budget-dependent. We have more Irish staff working in the venue and OtW are now specifically organising Irish cultural events in addition to our own.

  • Museum. We are working with Mark O’Neill, ex-curator at The Little Museum of Dublin, on a new ‘Museum of the Irish in London’ project. This will be small-scale and will involve a public collection of artefacts from the community, to be curated and presented by Mark and the LIC. This approach has been hugely successful in Dublin.

WELFARE AND ADVICE PROJECTS: In the absence of a Director of Welfare, Ian reported on the multiple projects delivered by the team at Camden, West Kensington, Ealing, Kilburn, by phone and online -

  • Kerry Trip Project: Margaret Kiely and Sarah Goodall are preparing for the annual Kerry Trip which takes place from June 4th to the 11th. The Kerry Emigrant Support Group (KES) and London Irish Centre offer older Irish people the chance to take part in an all expenses paid trip to Ballybunion in Co. Kerry. Note: The trip has been a great success with the group pictured below, including TD Michael Healey-Rea.

  • Irish Community Web Site. With the help of 2 specialist volunteers, we are taking forward work on a major website upgrade that will significantly enhance our welfare reach. This will be taken forward, staff capacity allowing, but we have already completed a survey to identify what the community wants and created the outline structure.

  • Volunteering Project : New volunteers have been recruited for in media, fundraising, IT. The volunteer social took place on Thursday 10th March at La Porchetta. 23 people attended and the feedback was very positive. A volunteer, Declan Becton, applied to the charitable fund at work for a donation towards the work of the London Irish Centre. A cheque for £300 was received from London Overground Rail Operations Ltd in April.

  • Befriending Project: Sarah reported on new befriending matches in Islington and Camden. Work on the standards for the Mentoring and Befriending Foundation begin in March. A befriending client took part in the film for the BNO and then donated £50 to the centre. We are currently working on launching our new telephone befriending service.

  • Social Groups Project: 629 places at the social groups were taken up across North, South and West London. Dane Buckley recently did a session on mindfulness with the Ealing group, which they really enjoyed. A new strength and balance programme has started.

  • IT Project – Universal Credit. 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. The project has closed.

  • Day Centre Project: 447 meals were served in the last month. 99 attend the Tea Dances this month, 17 home/hospice/house visits were carried out to more vulnerable service users. Dane and Maria took a group of vulnerable clients (18) some of whom are recovering from terminal illness to St Ives in early April. A feedback survey has been completed by wellbeing service users. 119 wellbeing clients were surveyed. 69% of survey participants were female and 31% were male. Some of the key results were:

  • 70% said that the project had a significant impact on friendships

  • 74% significant impact on opportunities to socialise

  • 75% significant impact on isolation

  • 73% significant impact physical wellbeing

  • 73% significant impact on mental wellbeing

  • 7% significant impact on feeling part of a community

  • 70% significant impact on better access to their culture

Other news:

  • TAP: Aoife presented at the Team Around the Practice meeting. TAP is an innovative partnership between Mind in Camden and Tavistock & Portman NHS Trust. 

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

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

  • West Ken: Frances Whelan and Yolanda Keogh, between them at West Kensington and via the South-West London home visiting service have raised £386.67 in donations over the last 4 or so months.

  • Advice & Outreach: There has been a 22 % increase in demand for the Camden Square face-to-face drop-in advice service.

  • Legal Advice: In March 2016, LIC launched a free legal advice clinic, kindly provided by Damian Cullen of Steel & Shamash Solicitors. Half-hour appointments are offered on a monthly basis to LIC advice clients who have problems requiring specialist legal advice in any category of UK civil law. This has proved to be very popular with advice slots being fully booked weeks in advance, so we are exploring how we might expand this new service. We are also now able to provide free legal advice from an Irish legal partnership.

  • Benevolent Society of Saint Patrick: The LIC have proposed to the BSOSP to include “the cost of soliciting medical evidence in support of claims, reconsiderations, or appeals related to Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance, Employment & Support Allowance, and Personal Independence Payment to be added to the list of ‘qualifying purposes’ for which the grant could be requested.

FINANCE: Nyall Jacobs proposed the year-end date to be moved six months to 30th of September with the draft budget being used for a six-month period from first of April to 30 September 16. The reason of this is to match the annual funding allocation from ESP which is agreed in July and received end of July or early August. The new dates will allow us to coordinate budgeting with this major income stream. This proposal was agreed.

There is considerable challenge to deliver a budget with a substantive surplus, which is essential for the proper governance of the charity. Various options were discussed and finance and development committees will feed in to a menu of options, which will be incorporated in a new budget for first of October 2016.

RISK: the risk management update was noted.

CHAIR: it was noted that Terms of References for the oversight and finance committees have been approved. This new oversight committee will take over from the Chair some of the governance work.

The chair informed the board that the potential garage development is still under discussion with the architects. More details will be available in the autumn.

GOVERNANCE: The terms of office of Evan Long, Ian McKim, Sean Kennedy and Dermot Murphy will end on 6 June 2016. Evan confirmed he would be stepping down. The board thanked him for his contributions as trustee and treasurer. Ian McKim and Sean Kennedy were reappointed for a further term of three years. Dermot informed the board he would be stepping down later on in the year. Dermot was reappointed as a trustee on an interim basis to 30 September. These appointments will be put to the AGM are for ratification.

The board are currently seeking new trustees with an emphasis on potential trustees who have a specialism in welfare, arts, fundraising and general business networks. Details can be found here.

  1. STRATEGIC

The revised draft business plan was considered. It was proposed that this would be discussed in more detail at a forthcoming strategy day (confirmed for 7th July). Mary Hickman updated on the community consultation, which has been drafted and will be presented in June/July.

  1. MISCELLANEOUS

  • We are delighted to report receiving the sum of £2500 from the Arsenal Foundation, in recognition of the work our patron Dermot O’Leary carried out for them.

  • A cheque for £300 was received from London Overground Rail Operations Ltd in April.

  • Our CEO raised £700 for us in sponsorship for an extreme sports competition, although was unable to compete, due to a serious training injury immediately prior to the event.

For these and all of the many small donations we have received in this period the charity is extremely grateful. With ongoing funding pressure these donations ensure that we are able to keep money vital services operating .

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

Sean Kennedy

chair@londonirishcentre.org

 

 

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