The Irish Heart of London

Thank you for your interest in the redevelopment of the London Irish Centre. A full planning application was made to Camden Council in March 2020 and this is now going through the planning process. We will be providing updates soon.

Welcome to our project website. Here you can find out more about the exciting plans to reimagine the London Irish Centre (LIC) and join the conversation to help us shape the future of the Irish Heart of London

It is our mission to bring outstanding Irish Care, Culture and Community to London.

  • Care - We support the most vulnerable in the community through a range of services including advice, crisis assistance, dedicated outreach, day centre, social groups, wellbeing activities, small crisis grants, lost contact and a clothes store.
  • Culture - We offer London’s leading Irish Cultural Programme which over a year reaches 20,000 people, provides space for 400 events, promotes the Irish language and is home to the largest collection of Irish Interest books in the UK.
  • Community - We offer a warm Irish welcome to London and beyond. The LIC welcomes over 75,000 visitors each year and through our events programme, online networks, Saturday playgroup, volunteering and befriending we bring the community together throughout the year.

The Context

Our Centre

In 1955 the LIC opened its doors to meet the needs of newly arrived Irish emigrants. Initially providing accommodation and welfare advice, the LIC quickly became an important social and cultural venue. Today it is a vital resource for the Irish and local communities in London providing Care, Culture and Community.

Our Future

However, with greater demand and need, escalating repair costs and more pressures on the LIC, our current building is no longer fit for purpose. Whilst we are incredibly proud of the work we do now, we believe that a reimagined Centre will enable us to provide truly outstanding services with the warmest Irish welcome, and in a more sustainable, accessible and diverse way.

Our Vision

We want to reimagine, redevelop and reposition the LIC as a world class community and cultural Centre. The Charity is committed to ensuring that any redevelopment will continue to meet the needs of those whom it serves, now and in the coming years. We want to continue to be a destination to foster friendship and support networks, and a place to celebrate Irish heritage, culture and community.

The Building

The LIC building currently faces a number of challenges that can be addressed through our proposed redevelopment:

  • The building is poorly laid out, the three original homes which form the front of the Centre were constructed in 1850. Further major additions were made as resources and funding permitted however the building was never planned out for future use and consequently a large volume of space is wasted.
  • The building now requires serious repair works and many of the facilities need intensive maintenance having come to the end of their useful life.
  • With increased pressure on our services the Centre needs to find new ways of supporting our work in the community.
  • There is no full disabled access, and while improvements have been made, there is still work that needs to be done to make the building more accessible.
  • The building is not energy efficient, and without serious improvements will continue to require costly maintenance and be a drain on the environment.
  • Multiple entrances and exits have led to increasing security issues.
  • In its current form the Centre has poor event infrastructure, with sound and IT equipment in need of considerable improvements.

The Opportunity

We believe our plans for the redevelopment of the Centre provide an opportunity for improved and upgraded facilities which will ensure the LIC continues its work supporting the Irish and local communities and beyond. We want to:

  • Design enhanced community facilities to ensure our advice, welfare and day centre offices are situated close to one another.
  • Create an enhanced Wellbeing Centre offering activities, education, social space and lunches.
  • Provide a Community Café, bar and meeting space.
  • Provide flexible event and office space to support the LIC’s charitable objectives.
  • Create an improved destination for the Irish community in London, as well as an important cultural asset for Camden.
  • Enhance the Irish identity of the Centre through design and storytelling in its redevelopment.
  • Design a sustainable building that reduces the Centre’s impact on the environment.

Community Conversation

Thank you for your interest in the redevelopment of the London Irish Centre. We are now planning to hold another community conversation event to obtain your views on our early plans. This will take place on:

Wednesday 30th October from 5.00pm to 8.00pm

McNamara Hall, London Irish Centre, 50-52 Camden Square, NW1 9XB

We would be very pleased if you could join us, we look forward to hearing your views.

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Please click to download our community conversation report, feedback was gathered over Summer 2019.

Thank you again to all of those who have contributed, we look forward to sharing our early plans later this year.

Project Team

Architect

Project Manager

MEP Consultants

Planning Consultant

Cost Consultant