Irish Seniors Project Review

It is a lifeline for the large Irish community both in Camden and across London
(Sir Kier Starmer, MP after a visit to the Irish Chaplaincy and Seniors’)

I would have gone downhill without the Chaplaincy. Now I’m enjoying life again and getting out
(Client interview, 2017)

Thanks to a grant from a funder, a thorough review of the Irish Chaplaincy Seniors’ Project, ICSP took place in June and July 2017.  A consultant, Sharon Tuppeny interviewed many stakeholders, chief amongst them being the Seniors themselves, and she concluded:

There is… a pressing need, both in the present and the foreseeable future, amongst frail isolated elderly Irish people.  The ICSP would be well placed to address these needs if additional resources were in place.

Fr. Michael O’Connor, parish priest of Sacred Heart R.C. Church, Kilburn, noted that:
The Irish Chaplaincy offers a unique service supporting isolated older Irish, as they are aware of the particular spiritual needs of older Irish, which can be essential in supporting their clients improve their mental health.

Andy Slaughter, MP for Hammersmith says:
I have worked closely with the Irish Chaplaincy and have always been impressed with the quality of the service and the level of care given to people who are often extremely vulnerable.  The help they give not only includes emotional support, but also practical help and advocacy for people who are often going through difficult periods in their lives.

What comes across especially strongly in the report is the voices of the Seniors’ themselves and their families:

They always call every week, then they chase up others who have forgotten me. I can’t keep calling social services; it makes me ill.

It’s like a bit of home every week. I see other people but none of them are Irish; they don’t understand.


You work miracles. Without you I don’t know where I’d be. I would be on the streets in tears.”

I wish everyone could have a Chaplaincy caseworker– they manage to get services in place for their clients like no one I have ever worked with.

Things don’t happen without the ICSP calling, pushing, advocating.

It is staggering the progress that has been made with the case since the Chaplaincy got involved. I could cry.

I would love to see someone…but the phone call is a lifeline.

People want to be treated holistically, in their totality, and this includes their mental health and spiritual needs.

ICSP connect with Irish elders in a way we (other provider) might not.

Your visits are a lifeline for me”- James Connolly, seen here with Pat Delaney who visits him regularly.


In the light of the report we have made several applications for funding so that we can recruit an additional staff member for ICSP plus more volunteers. The presence of an extra staff member would also free up Paul, the ICSP Manager to develop our partnership working in a variety of areas such as dementia care, end-of-life care, hospital discharge and the interplay between spirituality, dementia and mental health.

Seniors Project update – Feb 2017

Several years ago on St Patrick’s Day, I spent a few hours in the company of some older Irish immigrants to London, enjoying a chat and some Irish music and waiting for our bacon and Cabbage dinner to arrive! Each was proudly wearing their piece of shamrock. As the conversation unfolded it became all too apparent that for these men and women who had left Ireland as young people several decades ago, St Patrick’s Day was much more than an excuse for a party. It was a reminder of home and family, of a faith and a culture that was deep within them and crucial to their identity. Continue Reading

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