Popular Irish singer Damien Dempsey dropped into the London Irish Centre in Camden to give its Xmas Appeal a bit of boost
Irish singer-songwriter Damien Dempsey was in Camden last week for an intimate gig to help promote The London Irish Centre’s 2017 Christmas Appeal.
A long-standing supporter of the centre’s work in the community, Dempsey added his weight to this year’s appeal, launched recently with the announcement that pop music superstar Ed Sheeran will play a special concert at the centre in 2018.
Despite clearly hampered by a heavy cold, Dempsey belted out the likes of Fairytale of New York, Schooldays Over and The Rocky Road to Dublin, in his own unmistakable style before throwing open the stage to willing members to the audience to sing a song. And there was no shortage of volunteers with plenty of talent in evidence.
“The only way the Irish have survived over the years, through colonialism and having to work abroad, is through community. Community is very important, otherwise we would have died out as race,” Damien told the Irish World.
“I definitely see that sense of community here at the London Irish Centre. How many people has this place saved? It’s worth its weight in gold. It’s important for me to be part of the Christmas Appeal – we all have a part to play.”
For most Irish people in London, Christmas is a time for family, friends and celebration. For many others, it is a challenging time.
Through its Christmas Appeal, it aims to provide “outstanding care, culture and community to the most vulnerable Irish in London”.
The community services the centre provides are a “lifeline” for the elderly, the homeless, the isolated and at risk.
London Irish Centre CEO Sean Kennedy, said: “Damien is a big fan of the work that we do here and he’s played here a few times. He’s a proud Dub, but he knows the heritage the centre has for Dubliners, and everyone else from Ireland.
“We’re very proud of the work we do and we’re very proud that someone like Damien Dempsey wants to be associated. He sees the mission and understands what we’re doing.” This year’s appeal is also giving people the chance to win a “once-in-a-lifetime experience”.
Each donation of £10 or more will enter a draw to win a very special pair of tickets to an intimate gala event with the centre’s patron, Dermot O’Leary, and Ed Sheeran on 19 June. The concert is just part of a big year ahead for the centre.
Sean added: “2018 is going to be an incredible year at the London Irish Centre. The charity has so many plans; in the medium-term we have big aspirations to redevelop the centre to make it the nest community centre in the world.
“We’re very ambitious; we want to build a centre that’s the premier arts venue, but also a place that people can get the care, welfare and attention that they’ve been receiving from the charity for the last 66 years”
“Every single day 100 people get help here, whether it’s a hot meal or outreach or volunteering opportunities, or a cup of tea and an arm around the shoulder. As of earlier this week, the centre’s Christmas Appeal had raised nearly £8,000 towards its target of £25,000.
“We had a £1,000 donation from a very generous builder, Danny Sullivan, and we’re thrilled. All the money raised will go on services,” said Sean. “The money will be used to help the most vulnerable within our society and in our community, during and after Christmas.”
Ways to donate: Online: www.londonirishcentre.org Text: LICC17 £10 to 70070 to donate £10. Cheque/card/cash: Call 020 7916 2222 or post to or visit 50-52 Camden Square, NW1 9XB
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