Board Update #8

Update #8 - From the Chair of Trustees The London Irish Centre charity

October 2016

 

Dear All – welcome to our eight 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.

 

PART ONE: GENERAL NEWS UPDATES

CEO – Our CEO Ian McLintock will be leaving the LIC at the end of November when his one year contract will be completed. He informed the board he viewed the role as a one year assignment and he has completed the tasks the board had set for him on commencement. Ian has done a great job in improving our operations and systemising our fundraising and has developed a new three year strategy for the charity. The charity is in a better place now with more effective systems and processes and Ian will be leaving a good legacy. We wish him the very best.

New Trustees - early in 2016, our board carried out a skills audit to identify trustee skills on the board and any gaps. Trustees are appointed for a period of three years and a number of the current trustees were due to step down at the end of their term of office. The Board carried out an extensive recruitment campaign and I am delighted that we have appointed five new trustees. Our thanks and appreciation go to outgoing trustees Evan Long; Bernadette Sexton and Kieran Ryan for all their hard work over the past years. 

  • Nyall Jacobs (Treasurer/Finance Committee): Nyall was elected trustee and treasurer in March 2016. He is a partner in CBW, a full service Accountancy Practise with 18 Partners based in the City specialising in the outsourcing of Accounts to the SME. Nyall was born in Dublin, educated in Trinity College and qualified in London as a Chartered Accountant.
  • Alex O' Cinneide (Fundraising Committee): Alex is Managing Director and Head of Europe for the Paladin Group of Companies. Beside that role, he acts as a Senior Advisor to Kleinwort Benson Bank in London, Senior Advisor and Chairs the Investment Committee of Dragon Capital renewables fund. Alongside those commercial activities he also serves as a UNICEF UK Advisor, as a board member for thirst4water in Beijing and the Biomimicry Institute in San Francisco as well the board of the Irish government Green International Financial Centre in Ireland. Alex holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts from Trinity College Dublin, a Master of Science from the London School of Economics and a Masters in Finance from the London Business School.
  • Philomena Cullen (Welfare Committee): Philomena became a trustee in June 2016. She is second generation Irish, and has a background in academia and social welfare, running services for vulnerable people in the charity sector for twenty years, including at the Irish Chaplaincy in Britain. She currently lead's Oxfam's public policy work on UK poverty issues. 2
  • Mary Kerrigan (Fundraising and Oversight Committee): A trained actuary Mary is from Ireland and was a senior investment consultant with Towers Watson. She became the youngest ever female partner at Towers Watson. After 25 years she has recently decided to step down from executive roles in order to take on a range of non-executive and charitable activities.
  • Paddy Cowan: Businessman Paddy Cowan was born in 1942 in Ballymacormack, Clonturk, Co. Longford and, after a brief stint in the hotel trade, came to London in January 1961, aged 19, where he began a long, successful, and varied business career, starting as a salesman for Electrolux. Over the years he worked not only in sales, but marketing, property development and publishing among other things. He brought from Longford his lifelong love of GAA and served the London County Board in every capacity from player to manager to executive, notably bringing a London side to a junior All-Ireland football final in Croke Park in 1988 as manager. As publisher of the Irish World he is a sponsor of both London GAA and London Irish Rugby Football Club.

 

Annual General Meeting – In order to align our accounting year with the payment cycle of our main funder the Emigrant Support Programme the board agreed to change our accounting year to commence 1 October until 30 September, yearly. In the past our AGM has been held in November, conseequently it will be moved and now will take place May 8th 2017.

Angela Scanlon – Cocktail party fundraiser - This new fundraiser was held on 14th October and, despite being a new venture for us, was a great success. A number of celebrities attended, the fantastic food was provided free by a number of Irish companies, including Horgan’s Deli, Hook Camden and Whey Hey Ice Cream with O’Donovan Waste sponsoring the Tayto sandwiches. Irish TV were also there and interviewed a number of those attending. Co.Mayo`s Angela Scanlon and her husband Roy Horgan put a huge amount of effort into the organisation of the event, assisted by Ian and our events coordinator Anna Brennan and volunteer committee. A thank you also to Neil Duggan, a new volunteer, who also filmed the event to provide footage we can use for our fundraising efforts and to promote our work. There were in the region of 250 tickets sold and along with a raffle and further donations on the night we raised approximately £15,000, excluding costs. A huge thank you to all our sponsors, guests and volunteers who have helped establish this night in the calendar.

Whey Hey Irish Ice Cream

Angela Scanlon with long time supporter Maeve Heath

Carols at Camden – One for the diary, our Christmas Carol Singing will take place on Monday evening, 12 December. Please put the date in your diary and come along for a great night of carol singing followed by an old-fashioned singalong and craic in the Hub bar.

Friends Scheme - We will be launching our LIC Friends Scheme in the near future, so watch out for details. This will be a great opportunity to help us in our work in supporting the most vulnerable Irish, if you’re a UK tax payer, the UK Government will increase your donation by 25% through Gift Aid and we’ll be offering some great benefits to say thank you to you for your kindness.

I Am Irish – This ground breaking exhibition currently being shown at the Centre has attracted huge media interest and redefines what being `Irish` means. The charity is very proud to have hosted the launch of the exhibition, see Irish Times report http://www.irishtimes.com/culture/growing-up-in-ireland-i-was-the-only-black-person- 1.2807492

 

PART TWO: DONORS and DONATIONS

We continue to receive generous support from a range of organisations and individuals.

  • Our major funder the Emmigrant Support Programme, funded through the Department of Foreign Affairs, continue to support our work with a grant of £400,000.
  • Funding grants were received from the Irish Youth Foundation and Culture Ireland.
  • We received donations from the Benevolent Society of Saint Patrick, for our work with vulnerable individuals, and CICA for the Wellbeing Centre.
  • Our 2nd Honorary Lifetime member, Mrs Margaret Brown, raised £3500 for a plaque to be displayed in the LIC to celebrate ‘the forgotten Irish’.
  • Our patron Dermot O’Leary, donated a £2,500 speaking fee from the Arsenal Charity to the LIC.
  • The London Rose Centre very generously organised a charity fashion show, with half the funding raised donated to the LIC, and they are hoping to run another next year. We also received a number of individual donations and a legacy, as well as funding from our regular monthly donors. 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.

 

PART THREE:Board meeting (12th September 2016 – 6.30 pm to 9.00 pm).

Trustees present were Sean Kennedy (Chair), Dermot Murphy, Lyndsey Drea and Nyall Jacobs (Treasurer) together with CEO Ian McLintock. Apologies received from Ian Mc Kim and Mary Hickman. 

a) OPERATIONAL REPORTS CEO`s REPORT: Ian McLintock updated the board on a wide range of organisational issues including our Safeguarding and Health and Safety.

  • Communications - Ian discussed communications for the organisation - We operate multiple accounts across 4 main platforms; Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. Although, we do not have a specific comms/marketing post and this work is currently done ad hoc or through the CEO, we engage with an estimated 100,000 people in the community.
  •  HR - Staff terms and conditions were discussed and further work is being done on this currently. Our Finance Officer Rupal Acharya is leaving the organisation and the board wish Rupal every success in her new role in the south of France. The finance function will be reorganised in order for us to take on a new member of staff, Kim Jackson (Office Manager). This will make us more effective and allow Kim to take on a wider responsibility in areas, such as facilities management and some areas of operational delivery, at no additional cost.

Kim Jackson - Office Manager

  • Also new in Post is Caitriona Carney our Director of Welfare, who is from Co Mayo and brings with her a substantial track record in single homelessness.

Caitriona Carney

  • ESP - The charity received a grant of £400,000 from the Emigrant Support Programme, a 7% reduction on our funding last year.
  • Fundraising: The charity is working hard to replace the reduced grant funding income by diversifying the income we can generate from the building as well as creating a series of fund raising events through the year, in conjunction with our patron Dermot O’Leary. Ian reported on plans for our new Cocktail Party, 14th of October (hosted by Angela Scanlon), to be followed through the year by our very 5 successful Big Night Out in March, planned fundraisers by our Patron Dermot O’Leary and Patrick Kielty and a planned Irish Street Festival for next summer. We will also be launching our Friends Scheme soon and will also hold our annual Christmas Appeal. Non-Trust Fund income is projected to be £166,000 this year, up 165% from 2013/14. Along with the higher income being generated from commission and renting of space at the Camden centre, up 275% since 2011, the charity is managing to stabilise income and so maintain badly needed services.
  • Off to Work/Sliced Events: CEO Philip Atkins reported on current developments - In the last year there has been a lot of developments and greater diversification, such as events organised both by Sliced Events (the OtW team in the LIC) and 3rd parties. They have been working successfully with the local community in organising events, such as the Picnic on the Green. There has been an emphasis on increasing quality, with new fit outs, such as new staging, projector screen and sound desk. The investment had been circa £17k in total. Work on the overall look of the building had meant it now appeared much more cared for and this had not gone unnoticed by our community. New full time staff had been employed.

In the medium term, the plan is to improve the quality of the infrastructure, including toilet refurbishment. There is much improved Wi Fi, thanks to new fibre optic cabling and it was now possible to live stream events. Sales targets had been increased with an emphasis on marketing and partnerships.

 

WELFARE REPORT: Caitriona Carney, our new Director of Welfare, reported to the board.

  • Advice and Outreach - In the last four months, the A&O team have secured just under £0.25m in benefits for some of the most vulnerable people in our community. However, this is only part of what they do, some summary stats follow -  

 

 81 clients assisted in gaining their entitlement to benefits and/or pensions.

 25 clients assisted in accessing charitable grants.

 20 clients provided with financial assistance to support repatriation to the Republic.

 23 clients either having debt written off or a repayment plan agreed.

 21 clients assisted in having housing repairs arranged.

 10 clients assisted with housing transfers.

 43 clients referred to health services.

 19 clients referred to legal services.

 

The board congratulated the Advice and Outreach team for their work in gaining reaccreditation to the Advice Quality Standard scheme, the nationally-recognised benchmark of high-quality social welfare advice. Specifically, our welfare benefits and housing advice attained the “General Help with Casework” level, with all other areas of advice we provide covered under the overall AQS award. We not only achieved re-accreditation, but passed the audit with no corrective action required, confirming that our systems and procedures are all currently of a very high standard. A “no corrective action” result is awarded to only a small number of services, and is an indication of how well the Advice & Outreach team operates. 6

  • Measurement - Database monitoring is continuing to be rolled out alongside training and this will improve the charities reporting and impact assessment going forward. 
  • Kerry trip - Margaret Kiely and Sarah led our annual trip to Kerry, for those unable to return home for a holiday, was again a great success with 32 vulnerable people going. This year, a social worker was recruited to volunteer on the trip, which proved to be very successful.

Having a great time in Kerry, 2016. 

  • Volunteering and befriending - Currently, we have 128 active volunteers with 16 volunteering enquiries in Aug 16 and 3 induction sessions completed. This is an increase on the previous quarter and includes some high value individuals who have brought much needed specialist skills in areas such as comms and business. Work is being taken ahead on potential one-off team volunteering days.

Over the last quarter, a total of 200 befriending visits were made by volunteers. The Volunteer Manager, Sarah Goodall, made 20 home visits, including one to a blind housebound elderly lady who on arrival was found to have no food in the house so did an emergency shop to the value of £20 and alerted social services. Reaching those some distance from Camden is very difficult due travel issues, so we have introduced telephone befriending, which is going well.

Numerous training sessions are being organised for staff and volunteers, including on dementia, Mental Health First Aid (how to support someone who is suicidal) and Hoarding, as this has become a presenting issue with several befriending clients. 

  • Wellbeing and Social Groups – There has been a very positive response to the extra trips been carried out. Nearly every Thursday in June, July and August there has been a trip. The team are working hard to put on an array of events, many of which are suggested by users, for example day trips, holidays, festivals, dances, fund-raisers, high teas and group dinners out in the community.

 

ARTS:

Gary Dunne, Director of Arts reported to the board.

  •  Spring-Summer Season 2016 - We had a busy and diverse spring-summer season, the highlight of which was ‘Céad’, a new weekend festival of Irish arts, which has received glowing feedback from press, artists and audiences. Another of our flagship 1916 Centenary events, ‘Dublin’s Burning’, was rated ‘excellent’ by 100% of audience respondents. We also launched the first event under our new ‘LIC Presents’ brand – i.e. Curating events into other venues. This first event was a sold out show at the Green Note, Time Out London’s No 1 Live Venue. Over 50 students took an 8-week Irish language course with us, and we launched the new Irish library. 7
  • Autumn-Winter Season 2016 - We are just launching into our A-W 16 season. Highlights of which are flagship concerts with Sharon Shannon and Sean Keane, a new art exhibition for Black History Month, two festivals, the Late Late Toy Show Live, our Irish language courses and a brand new cultural showcase at and with The Irish Embassy.

 

FINANCE:

Treasurer Nyall Jacobs updated the board. He is currently undertaking a review of our financial operation. We are hoping to show a small surplus for the year in progress and are budgeting for 2017/18 to show a zero deficit/surplus. Realistically the charity needs to be operating with a 5 to 8% surplus every year so that we can build up a reserve. This is particularly important in view of the huge potential capital costs that will be incurred in the future (example a new roof to the Centre) however in an environment where we have had a large cut in our funding year-on-year for the past five years the board believe it is unrealistic to plan for a surplus this year as it would necessitate reducing the essential services we provide.

 

CHAIR:

Chair Sean Kennedy updated the board on the recent trustee recruitment process. The sub-committee system is working better but still not fully functional. Our governance committee has just become operational and this will improve our oversight from the board. Fully functional sub-committee structure will ensure that the board meeting agenda can focus on key decision-making and strategic planning rather than more operational matters which has occasionally been the pattern in the past.

  • Building and Premises – the committee met 19th September to consider ongoing building maintenance issues at the centre. Generally the building is being well maintained on a day-to-day basis but there is no money available for longer term building requirements (new roof for example) or improvements like disability lift to the Kennedy Hall. The committee decided to carry on with the application for planning permission for the garages and this should be submitted before Christmas.
  •  Board Meetings – the 2017 schedule was agreed

 14th November 2016.

 23rd January2017 Full Board Meeting (LIC)

 6th March AGM and short board meeting (LIC)

 8th May Full Board Meeting (LIC)

 10th July Strategy Away Day and short board meeting (Venue TBC)

 11th September Full Board Meeting (LIC)

 13th November Full Board Meeting (LIC) b.

 

STRATEGY

The charity has been going through a process to identify the strategy for the charity in the medium term (to 2019). We have agreed a new vision ` To be the heart of the Irish community in London` and mission `We are here to support the Irish in London through outstanding Community services and Cultural programmes` as well as a set of strategic 8 objectives for the next three year. The next step will be to operationalise this plan for 2016/17.

 

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

Sean Kennedy

chair@londonirishcentre.org

 

 

 

Funders

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