Irish Chaplaincy Seniors Project

We support and provide advocacy services for the most vulnerable and isolated older Irish people in London.

objective 1

reduce loneliness experienced by older Irish people, many without any family

objective 2

support Irish seniors to access services they need and advocate on their behalf

objective 3

reconnect older people with their local communities in London and any family in Ireland

objective 4

offer practical, emotional and spiritual support, regardless of their religious background

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Why our work matters

Many older Irish people came to Britain in the 1950s and have since experienced isolation and severe poverty.

We have helped over 200 older people through our Seniors Project designed to support and advocate for the most vulnerable in London.

Nearly 60% of the people we help say they sometimes don’t receive any visitors in a week and nearly a third say they would have no one to call for help if they were in trouble. One person said, “My brother from North London used to help, but lately he has not come.” The sad reality for some is that our first visit may be the only one they’ve had in a year.

47% say they don’t feel that London is a good place to live anymore, with 80% saying it’s an expensive, especially for food and bills.

It is a known fact that isolation and loneliness can lead to mental health problems. No one should have to feel alone, as Andrew Solomon says in the Guardian “Depression is a disease of loneliness… A lack of friends can suck someone into solitude – sharing the language of affection could help ease the pain.” We consider it our duty to help these people through kindness and compassion.

We’ve reunited families and arranged for people to go back to Ireland to be close to their families, some returning for the first time in 25 years. We also pride ourselves on sending birthday presents when we can and helping people get to mass.

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Download Project Review July 2017

We achieve this by:

  • Visiting older Irish regularly in their home, in hospital or residential care home and spending quality time with them to offer positive support and encouragement – for some this may be the only visitor they get
  • Maintaining regular telephone contact to ensure isolated older Irish have someone to talk to and share their hopes and concerns with
  • Liaising and advocating on their behalf with health and social care providers and a range of other organisations as required
  • Helping them to reconnect with their families back in Ireland
  • Supporting those who want to move back to Ireland and making this transition as smooth as possible
  • Offering a knowledgeable and comforting presence, in relation to end of life questions and concerns, and providing advice on funeral planning in London and in Ireland
  • Exploring older people’s faith and spirituality with them if they so wish, and linking them to a local faith community if requested

If you would like us to come over for a cup of tea and a chat, or if you would like to access any of the other services or know someone who does, please complete and send in our referral form and we will be in touch.

It's great to have a visit from somebody in the afternoon, it breaks the silence here.

Client in South London

I would have gone downhill without the Chaplaincy. Now I’m enjoying life again and getting out

Client, 2017

Words cannot describe how much I’m indebted to you because of your support and help in every way. I don’t feel as if I’m alone in fighting this battle. Your support is worth more than you will ever know

Client, 2017

It is a lifeline for the large Irish community both in Camden and across Britain

Keir Starmer MPafter his visit to the Irish Chaplaincy and Irish Seniors in December 2015