Board Report #9


Update #9 - From the Chair of Trustees

 The London Irish Centre charity (January 2017)


Dear All – welcome to our ninth 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.



CEO Sean Kennedy has been appointed as CEO of the charity, effective 28th of November 2016 for an initial one-year term. Sean has a background in business and management and extensive experience in the charity sector having set up and ran the Speak Out Challenge (the world`s largest youth speaking event) as well as serving as an Executive, Trustee and Chair in a number of third sector organisations.


ChairDermot Murphy has been appointed as Chair of the Charity. Dermot was previously Chair of the Irish Charitable Trust until its merger with The London Irish Centre charity in 2013.


                       Sean Kennedy


                      Dermot Murphy

Christmas Appeal – The charity is extremely grateful to the hundreds of donors who made this year’s Christmas appeal such a success. Our target was £15,000 and we exceeded this, close to £18,000. We received donations from Ireland, the UK and further abroad with many donors referencing the help and support they or their parents or grandparents had received from the charity over the years. The money raised will be used to directly fund our welfare, day centre, social clubs and outreach services which provide vital assistance and services to so many in our community who are experiencing emotional or physical hardship. As Sheila posted on Facebook 'The London Irish Centre has been an invaluable part of my dad's older life. Without you I think his older years would have been very different`.



                  A big `Sláinte` and `Go raibh maith agaibh` from some of our older clients

Carols and Craic – Our first ever Carols and Craic events took place on 12 December. This was part of our Christmas Appeal and close to 200 attended listening to a fantastic range of traditional and modern Christmas classics delivered by the wonderful London City Voices Choir. The evening continued with a traditional Irish session from the Whelton Family in the Hub. We plan for this evening to be the centrepiece of our Christmas appeal in 2017… Watch this space…


Our Volunteers recognised - All of our volunteers are pretty amazing and we got to nominate two for Camden Volunteer of the Year 2016. Maureen Stanley and John Dunne received certificates of recognition from the Mayor of Camden Cllr Nadia Shah and the Deputy Lieutenant for Camden Sir Ian Johnston. Maureen Stanley was nominated for her amazing work with various departments - on a year`s sabbatical from social work she volunteered first for the Kerry Trip, enabling older isolated Irish people with support needs to enjoy a trip to Kerry, fortnightly sessions supporting the Tea Dance and the Lunch Club and volunteering on a pilot telephone befriending scheme.  


John Dunne was nominated for his volunteering within in the new Library Service - His professional library skills supported the Arts Team to sort and catalogue over 5,000 books and organise systems for this new resource.


LIC Library - The library is continuing to grow and is becoming an eclectic meeting place. We have created a new partnership with Mind Yourself to enjoy monthly visits as part of their 'Walk and Wonder' project and well as a new venue for Irish Harp classes.



                                                         Irish Harp Classes




Irish Play Group – in early December, we were delighted to support and host the launch of a new monthly Irish playgroup. This initiative came from new parents who are connected to the LIC and wish to pass Irish culture on to their children. Interesting to note that in the week before Christmas the Centre hosted dozens of events with clients ranging from 95 years of age all the way down to 2 months. The charity is certainly living up to our vision of being ` the heart of the Irish in London`.



                                                           Irish Family Group


Sadiq Khan – The Mayor of London delivered the keynote speech at the Irish Post awards (26.11.16). He spoke for 15 minutes about the contribution of the Irish to London. He paid a wonderful tribute to the work the London Irish Centre charity have been doing for over 60 years in helping the Irish in London.



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

  • Minister for the Diaspora Joe Mc Hugh paid tribute to the work of the charity announcing the Emigrant Support Programme through the Department of Foreign Affairs at the Irish Embassy (27.10.16) - “I have already benefited from meeting many of the incredible volunteers,” the Minister said. “And have seen first-hand the enormous contribution they are making in a spirit of warmth and care for others, such as those I met in the London Irish Centre who provide such great solidarity for the elderly in their community”. The LIC received a grant of £400,000 which will enable the charity to continue providing a vast range of services this year and for which the charity is enormously grateful.
  • We are delighted to have received the sum of €15,000 as a grant from Culture Ireland. This money will be used to help promote Irish Arts and Culture at the Centre.

We also received a number of individual donations over and above our Christmas Appeal, 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 (14th November 2016 – 6.30 pm to 9.00 pm).

Present:  Sean Kennedy (Chair), Dermot Murphy, Nyall Jacobs, Philomena Cullen, Paddy Cowan, Mary Kerrigan and Ian McKim

Apologies: Lyndsey Drea, Mary Hickman, Alex O’Cinneide


  1. Procedural

Declarations of Interest - None.

Matters Arising. Pro Bono Legal Support.  IML updated the board on the pro bono legal advice being provided. Currently up to 5 people per month are benefiting. 

2. Operational

Reports.  This meeting was the first to use the new reporting format.

Cocktail Party.  This was the first time that we’d run such an event and it had specifically (and successfully) targeted a new market segment.   A Cost/Volume/Profit analysis had shown the key surplus driver to be ticket sales, as these impacted not only ticket income, but also the 3 other income areas.  Options to drive ticket sales had been identified as part of this exercise, which indicated a net surplus of £10k to £15k was realistically achievable next year.  It also identified that using our celebrity access to run low cost/low effort events was something that might very usefully be explored.  

H&SW.  The H&SW Policy Statement was approved.  A detailed implementation plan had been created (in Ancillary folder) and all necessary reports, information and procedures to do so had been adduced into a H&SW folder for the management team on Drop Box.  The new Board Committee ToRs included compliance reporting requirements and a new Board Compliance Report had been taken into use. 

Web Site.  The CEO and Arts Director had carried out a substantial amount of work into improving the web site, particularly the welfare area, which had formed part of the proposed new welfare model.   Equally, with the community now spread across the whole of London and the home counties and a very large Irish online community, this represented the only way of reaching many of them, would reach potentially very large numbers and at very low cost.  The LIC was the only community organisation with the online capability to do so and substantially increasing traffic would also have a positive impact in other areas, such as contact capture and attendance at cultural events.  The welfare area was very dated and the number of hits only about 25% of those on culture.  Upgrading the content and uploading simple guides (largely written by others), based around our online survey of help people wanted, then supported by a social media campaign would have a very positive impact that could easily be tracked using analytics. 

There were also technical improvements that could be made, such as mobile compatibility, moving to an open CMS and more effective URL coding.  These would support improving traffic for all areas of the site.  A tender document had been prepared .

Community Services

Lamp Light.  Data collection continues to be an area of high importance and currently the lamplight system is being re-evaluated. There was a need for a common assessment framework across the 3 welfare project areas, to be clear on what needs were, not just numbers and for more outreach.  This information would also be very useful for fundraising bids.  Progress was being made with Local Authority services making referrals.

HR.  Our current HR provider was ELAS, but a change was being considered to another, potentially Real People.

West Kensington.  The current lease was ‘at will’, so could be terminated at any time and the sub lease to the CAB had been written to terminate if the main lease did. There was no expectation of a disruption to services.  The Board approved the recommendations in the paper, to base staff at Camden HQ and continue to deliver services in west London in line with funding requirements with a timeline to complete actions in February.

Cultural Programmes

Following a review of the events assistant role, it had been agreed that the scope of the role had developed substantially to encompass coordinating work with OtW, artists and promoters, liaison with a wide range of stakeholders, substantive commercial responsibility and line management of a substantial volunteer base.   This role was now effectively already a management role. The role would be retitled and JD and conditions revised. The Board asked that thanks be passed to Gary on his achieving the ‘Top 40 under 40’ list.  


Budget.  Good progress was being made with a projected surplus of £9k.  Less certain income had been stripped out.  However, this very small surplus did not address the reserves issue or the need for robust property investment for major repairs.  The income predicted was £1m, of which £400k was ESP.   Building revenue was the biggest contributor, with OtW also providing substantial income.

Statutory Accounts.  As a consequence of the bank reconciliation issue, draft results for the year ending 30 Sep 16 were not yet available, but there was more than adequate time before the AGM.


Chair, including Building Committee

Development.  Work on the garage development was proceeding well and, whilst it would involve substantive costs, it would overall generate significant surplus income.

AGM.  The AGM would be held on 8 May 2017.

Staff Meetings.  Board members were invited to attend staff meetings held in the LIC on the first Wednesday of each month.

Christmas Stand-down.  The Board approved 3 days stand down for the week between Christmas and New Year, which with the 2 bank holidays, would give the staff the full week off work. 

CEO Delegations.  These were approved.

Oversight. Some Committee ToRs had been received, but not all and only the Oversight Committee had submitted an annual work plan.  Committee chairs were to submit these and the Oversight Committee would review and provide definitive recommendations in Jan 17.  The Committee would also review the risk register

3. Strategic

Income Generation. The corporate sector would be challenging, but MK was exploring how best to tap into Irish Networks with some success.  She had been in contact with organisations, such as the WIN network.  MK with discuss the potential of a leaflet drop by the Irish World with PC.  SK would have a conversation with AO to set up a meeting with the Head of Corporate Sponsorship at UNICEF. PC suggested that a golf day might work well.

Anna Brennan (our fundraising event lead) will be in touch with everyone about table sales for BNO is Mar 17.

Business Plan. This would be reviewed with the aim of setting short term objectives for the next 3 months. These short term Action Plans would form the basis for SMT delivery through the year.

4. General


7th December – Pensioners Xmas Party

12th December – Christmas Carols LIC

3rd March - BNO 4 fundraiser (LIC)

13th October- Cocktail Party Fundraiser (TBC)


Board Meetings

LIC Boardroom 6.30pm to 9.30pm – 14 Nov 16.  Subsequent meetings:

23rd January Full Board Meeting (LIC)

6th March Full Board Meeting (LIC)

8th May Short Board Meeting and AGM (LIC)

10th July Strategy Away Day and short board meeting

11th September Full Board Meeting

13th November Full Board Meeting



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


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

Dermot Murphy




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