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A Letter from the Chair

Wednesday 1st April

Dear Friends,

We are now into the second week of lock-down and our Centre remains closed. We have, as you know, unfortunately had to cancel or postpone many events. All our usual classes and weekly gatherings are curtailed for the foreseeable future. Our staff, however, are very much available if you need our help call:

Maureen Morrison (Cultural Administrator) 07840286845 or alternatively,

Clodagh Dunne (Health and Wellbeing Co-Ordinator) on 07710854973

We are delighted to be working closely with Irish Community Care Merseyside and many other Irish community groups, to provide a collective community response to Covid19. ICCM can be contacted on 0151 237 3987 9am to 4pm.

In light of current circumstances: our AGM, due to be held in April, will need to be adjourned. Notice will be given when the Centre re-opens. At the AGM I hope to outline our business plan which we will work on while the Centre is closed. One of the issues which will be addressed is our current home, the premises at Boundary Lane. We have 15 months left on the lease. We have commenced discussions recently with the Archdiocese, our landlords. Your ideas about our Centre are always welcome.

As you may know, our manager - Richie Billing, has recently left his position to take up a new role as an editor. Richie has played a major role in the life of the Centre over the past three years. He received many accolades on social media over the weekend, but I would like to thank him sincerely on behalf of all our members for his outstanding contribution. He has worked tirelessly to maintain and improve the premises, he has transformed our website and social media platforms, and he has increased our cultural offerings and entertainments. He has played a major role in our increased profile. He has brought new people to the Centre as well as looking after our regular customers and has made everyone feel at home.

Richie will be a hard act to follow, as they say, but I am delighted that his role will be taken by Niall Gibney - who has been shadowing Richie for a good while now and will be known to many of you. Had it not been for the lock-down, we would - I am sure, have had a seamless transition. We wish Niall well in his new role and hope he is able to welcome you to the Centre in the very near future. Notwithstanding the lock-down, there is plenty for Niall to be doing at the moment.

We acknowledge and thank all LIC staff, volunteers and partner organisations - who have contributed to the success of the Centre and who continue to work, to ensure we can support members of our communities through this difficult time.

Like all businesses, the lock-down will hit us hard in financial terms. We acknowledge and extend our sincere thanks to our funders - whose continued support is vital and has enabled us to deliver extensive community activities, in particular - The Irish Government, through its Emigrant Support Programme also, The National Lottery Community Fund and the Irish Youth Foundation.

We are also fortunate in having had a good start to 2020, with the pantomime and the first part of the St Patrick's Festival. The 100 Club will continue and thank you for supporting this. For the time being, our finances can sustain a reasonable period of inactivity. The Management Committee and staff team continue to pursue funding and partnership opportunities, to ensure Liverpool Irish Centre continues to be a vibrant cultural and community hub. One way of supporting the Centre is to become a member. Numbers are rising and this will be a very important source of income for us in the future.

The Management Committee will continue to meet online every fortnight, to review the situation and we will keep you updated regularly. I send my best wishes on behalf of the committee of trustees and our staff for your good health over the next few months or however long it takes to get through Coronavirus.

Kind regards

Paul Hardiman - Chair

Liverpool Irish Centre

6 Boundary Lane, L6 5JG

0151 263 1808

Registered charity number: 1089059

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