Thank you so much for your ongoing commitment and support to the London Irish Centre. Your support makes a huge difference to us under normal circumstances and an even more significant impact over the past nine months. I want to personally thank you for that support. It has been life changing. 

Watch our uplifting video to see what you have helped to make possible. 

Since 1955, our warm and welcoming services have empowered and enriched lives, creating a rich legacy of care, community, and hope. This year has been like no other. 

The first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic saw a huge outpouring of offers of community support; volunteering, donations, mutual aid groups. We at the London Irish Centre saw first-hand the effects of the virus on the community, both the positive community work and the isolation, poverty and suffering which these have been addressing. We are so grateful for all the support we received. It allowed us direct that to those most in need and continued that community spirit that enabled us to support people through some of the most difficult times in living memory. 

As CEO, I could not be prouder of how the community of volunteers, staff, trustees and supporters rose to the challenge. We could not have done this without you. 

Together, with your support during the Covid-19 pandemic, we:

  • became the first centre offering shielding to the vulnerable in Camden, providing essential food and supplies, 
  • delivered over 5,000 hot meals and 2,000 food parcels to those who were shielding across London. Our volunteer drivers were often the only visitors for many people over 3 months, 
  • made over 3,000 check-in calls to clients providing friendly, regular contact, 
  • helped over 200 people through our wellbeing advice helpline, taking the strain off the NHS, and
  • set up over 70 telephone befriending pairs who speak on the phone several times a week and who have rich links across the generations and made new friendships. 

Despite not being able to see one another, the LIC also held some fantastic fundraising events during the early months of the pandemic. Our online London Irish Charity Night In raised over £100,000 and brought joy to so many. 250,000 people participated in our digital SOLAS Season cultural programme to help people feel connected at a time of great isolation. We are very proud of these virtual events. 

On top of all this, our busy Advice Team:

  • won £363,596 in essential benefits for clients who are disabled and at risk of poor mental and physical health. Those who we helped claim benefits were on average £72 a week better off and helps to ward off food poverty and indebtedness, and 
  • worked with over 1,300 clients who are in desperate need of support. 

With a second wave, another lockdown and Christmas upon us, and the need for help is rapidly increasing once again. We are doing everything we can to support those who are vulnerable at this time. We cannot do this alone. With the support of the community, people helping out in whatever ways they can, we can continue to connect people and ensure they get the support they need to get through Christmas. 

With a year of fundraising events cancelled, including our Christmas specials, we urgently need your help. 

As many Irish people, particularly the older generation, live alone across London, this Christmas will be especially difficult as loneliness and isolation sweeps the city. Our services are needed more than ever. With your support, we will ensure that no one is left behind or forgotten. 

"i worked as a nurse all my life and I still found myself alone by mid-March and very worried. I was connected with the centre and between March and June the only people I saw and who helped me were the staff and volunteers from the London Irish Centre. They fed me three hot meals a week, sent me a lovely parcel of food, books and magazines on a Friday and called me most days to have the chat. It never felt like charity. It all came from a place of care. Without that, I do not know what I would have done. It could happen to anyone." Margaret

Our essential services will keep the lights on for the community, tackling severe loneliness, boosting resilience and avoiding longer term mental ill health and physical decline. 

If you were planning to attend one of our events, or have a Christmas party budget that you want to put to good causes, we would greatly appreciate you choosing the London Irish Centre as your charity to support this Christmas. There are a number of different ways to give at www.londonirishcentre.org/christmas

I look forward to warmly welcoming you back to the Centre in the New Year, where I hope to thank you personally for your belief in the work of the London Irish Centre and your generosity in making that possible. 

Full information and donation options at www.londonirishcentre.org/christmas

Le buíochas, 

Ellen Ryan CEO