It’s almost a year since we closed our doors and began working remotely. It’s been a very challenging time for LICC particularly financially in that we have lost about two thirds of our unrestricted income however the combination of the furlough scheme, business grants, bounce bank loan and securing core funding from the National Lottery has enabled LICC not just to survive but to strengthen its position in terms of the services we offer and the service users we reach. 

We have developed partnerships with Catford Fridge, The Good Hope Café, Wheels of Wellbeing, Southwark Irish Pensioners Project and the Diamond Club to deliver new initiatives tackling social isolation, loneliness, food poverty. Our advice and advocacy services have adapted, the staff team work remotely offering advice, advocacy and welfare checks by telephone and online. Our Irish Elders project has been delivered via community meals, food hampers, telephone calls and online projects.  We recently secured two-year funding from London Youth to develop the youth Club’s mental health and food poverty projects.

The community has been impacted by loss, isolation, loneliness and separation from family, friends and colleagues. The staff team have had various challenges, while some were put on furlough, others have taken on new roles and adapted their current role to meet need. Yet there have been some positives, services adapted well, some service users who would not be able to attend the centre were able to join in online. We have had a great response from the local community and been overwhelmed with offers to volunteer and support.

Lockdown has given the organisation and the team an opportunity to reflect and plan for the re-opening of the community centre and the years ahead. Our Strategy 2021-2024 sets out our four objectives going forward. Supporting the welfare of the Irish community, keeping the local and Irish community connected, collaboration and long-term recovery and sustainability. You can read our strategy here.

With the roll out of vaccinations over the past few months there is definitely a sense of hope in the air, we look forward to re-opening our premises safety again later in the summer and although we cannot celebrate St. Patricks day in person again this year there will be a special celebration, details below.  

On behalf of the trustees, management and staff of Lewisham Irish Community Centre we wish you all a very happy and safe St. Patrick’s Day and we hope to see you all soon.

Kathleen Sheridan