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H&F cash boost brings major benefits for borough’s Irish community

Categoriesnews Arts and parksnews, Communitynews

Image captionImage 1: From left to right: Chair of Trustees Jim O’Hara, General Manager Collette Mackin, former Prime Minister of Ireland Enda Kenny, Dara Ó Briain, Assistant Manager Katie Walsh, former Ambassador of Ireland Dan Mulhall, and Trustee Seamus McGarry

Music will reverberate inside the walls of Hammersmith’s Irish Cultural Centre after a cash boost from Hammersmith & Fulham Council helped complete a major refurbishment.

The centre, which is home to music, dance, lectures, films, reopened in Blacks Road in February, following almost four years out of the building while it was redeveloped.

Now a full programme of classes and activities are set to resume this autumn after £191,000 of developer funding was given by H&F to complete the internal refurbishment.

“We’re delighted that we could help the Irish Cultural Centre get back to offering a full range of activities to residents and visitors,” said Cllr Sue Fennimore, H&F Cabinet Member for Social Inclusion.

“The centre is a genuine hub of the community, providing an important focal point for Irish culture, but also offers invaluable opportunities for socialising, learning and fun activities for everyone.”

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Image caption: Image 2: The newly redeveloped Irish Cultural Centre in Hammersmith

Jim O'Hara, chair of the ICC, said: "The council's generous grant is an enormously helpful contribution to our ongoing fundraising campaign to refurbish the interior of our newly constructed building and is a most welcome recognition of the role played by the centre in complementing the cultural and social amenities of the borough, and in contributing to London's renowned cultural diversity.

“We are using most of the money to install the most modern facilities and equipment for our auditorium and performance spaces. This will enable us to attract the finest of Ireland's musicians, artists and writers to perform in Hammersmith, as well as enhancing our facilities for our educational programme of lectures, cultural seminars and classes.

“It is an exciting milestone for us, cementing the achievements of the centre over the last two decades. It has been a huge task since 2012 to purchase the site, construct the new building and undertake the interior fit out. I wish to thank all our partners, supporters and volunteers, and, in particular, our dedicated management team and volunteer Board of Directors for their unstinting efforts in achieving this.”

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Image caption: Image 3: Cllr Stephen Cowan (left) with Enda Kenny, former Prime Minister of Ireland

Originally opened by the Council in 1995, the centre has been run by the charity since 2007, who bought the site in 2013.

Following a capital grant from the Government of Ireland and in partnership with Shepherds Bush Housing Group, the site has since been completely redeveloped, giving Hammersmith a brand new Cultural Centre and providing 24 new homes for rent by local people.

H&F Council’s Cabinet agreed the funding when it met back in May. The money is being used to help kit out the performance areas, including acoustic panelling and AV equipment, improving disabled access and reinstalling the building’s original public art.

Volunteer appeal

The centre has always relied on a team of dedicated volunteers.  Some volunteers have been with the centre for more than 20 years doing jobs such as welcoming visitors, running the tea dances and booking their bands and managing the library.

If you would like to join our committed team, we are always on the lookout for new blood.

To find out more about donating to the centre, or volunteering, contact acting general manager Katie Walsh on 020 8563 8232, or email

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Image caption: Image 4: From left to right, Assistant Manager Katie Walsh, Trustee Mary Walker, Hazel Hutchison, Trustees Rosalind Scanlon, Ivan Gibbons and Seamus McGarry

Room hire

Did you know the Irish Cultural Centre has a selection of rooms available to hire for meetings, or events? Find out more hiring the Irish Cultural Centre and prices (pdf 1.8MB).