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Report of the Chair of the Liverpool Irish Centre to the Annual General Meeting 2022

Report of the Chair of the Liverpool Irish Centre to the Annual General Meeting 2022 I will not go through the various activities that we put on and enjoy at the Centre as those in charge of them can do a better job than I. I will merely say that their number is increasing and the overall offering that the Centre provides improves year on year. We now have lots of runners and yoga practitioners as well as lots of young Irish dancers, and pensioners enjoying their lunches and tea dances. We cater for young and old, Irish and non-Irish. We have I am very pleased to report kept up the energy levels of the lockdown years, Sunday afternoon is vibrant and there are lots of musical acts appearing on stage and in the bar. I have no doubt that the purpose and mission of the Liverpool Irish Centre is as strong as ever and I am confident that the provision of Irish culture and diverse entertainments will be kept to high standards. We will continue to make contacts and connections that will enhance the profile and reputation of the Centre. We will continue to strive to make the Centre the best Irish centre in the country and the best community centre in the city. A few key points to raise:

Finance – we will hear from Guy Playfer of Malthouse and our treasurer Tony Grimes will say a few words also. We have spent a lot of time on finance in the last year. It is pleasing to see a cash reserve giving us a reasonable cushion, which is likely to be a great benefit in the next 2-3 years given the state of the economy. Membership – we have a new system in place which should make our processes easier and

more efficient. The funds from the membership are much appreciated and help to keep the Centre going. We hope the fact of being a member is a source of pride. I urge everybody who hasn’t applied or renewed, to do so as soon as possible. Property – at the time of writing, to my great frustration we have still not entered into the new lease. There is one outstanding issue which I hope will be resolved before the AGM. We have maintained the premises and made minor improvements during the course of the year but we are still plagued by problems in toilets, drains, roof/ceiling, heating, on a regular basis and we would still like to carry out substantial improvements to make the premises fit for purpose for the next twenty years. The garden and shed are well used and enjoyed and have become part of our amenities. Plans – the premises remain a priority and it is a matter of regret that we are no further on than this time last year. We will revert to members with detailed plans when appropriate but obviously without a lease we cannot apply for grants or loans. Aside from the premises, we have many areas where we need to do more. We still have much to do on finance so that the Centre is on a sound financial footing and is sustainable in the medium to long term. There is likely to be a growing need for centres like ours to serve local communities where many people are going to face hardship and hunger. We need to build on our contacts with the likes of Homebaked and our local foodbanks. We need to attract new customers and work to grow our profile here and in Ireland. As regards the latter we have in the last year looked after a family from Armagh whose son was badly injured in Liverpool, we have developed excellent relations with Cork Penny Dinners and we have welcomed Simon Coveney and the new ambassador to the Centre. All were really impressed by the welcome and the offering at the Liverpool Irish Centre. You will hear and read at the AGM more about the work and achievements of the Centre. It is a team effort, staff, volunteers, members and trustees; and the support of our funders, notably The Emigrant Support Programme and the National Lottery Community Fund, is a major factor in enabling all of this to happen. We have received donations in the last year or so from many groups and companies and individuals and we are very grateful for all of them. We are always looking for members to get involved and to come up with new ideas. It is very pleasing to see a good number of potential new trustees. Everybody has skills and talents that could be of use at the Centre and if you would like to volunteer please contact either myself or our Administrator Maureen Morrison. Many thanks Patrick Gaul, Chair Liverpool Irish Centre October 2022

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