Who we are
The Nottingham Irish Centre became a CIO (Charitable Incorporated Organisation) as a registered Charity in 2017. Since 1973 it has occupied the city centre premises at 2 – 4 Wilford Street Nottingham NG2 1AA.
The Nottingham Irish Centre is managed on a voluntary effort basis for the benefits of its members and the Nottingham Irish and City Citizens. Its prime mission is to promote Irish Heritage and Culture, to provide Community Support Services and a venue and facilities for many of the groups and activities that fulfil these objectives.
At present, the Community primarily use an area named the Members Bar, with a Tenant occupying the remainder of the premises to provide a Sandwich bar, promoting events in the IC Club (Main Hall), and managing the car park. This arrangement provides an income stream which enables the Irish Centre Committee to pay for the building maintenance and invest in and provide Community Support Services.
The Centre is currently managed by a Committee of 14 persons, three of whom are Trustees, with Pat Murphy as Chairman supported by the Community Welfare & Support Team of Sheila and Majella.
Our History – Nottingham’s Irish Community
Nottingham has had a vibrant Irish community for almost 200 years (see article by Patrick Murphy) and generations of Irish people came here attracted by the diverse employment opportunities in industry and the coalfields.
196O’s. In the early 1960s a number of Irish people decided they needed a social centre as a focus for the Irish community and acquired premises in Derby Road opposite St Barnabas Cathedral in 1964. This was the original Nottingham Irish Centre in two rooms for which the committee later acquired an alcohol license. As the Irish community grew throughout the next decade the need for larger premises became obvious.
1970’s In 1973 the Irish Centre was relocated to No. 2 Wilford (the present Members’ Bar) and the following year acquired No. 4 which was then a fireplace showroom for the builders merchants John A Stephens. Both buildings were renovated and improved by members of the Irish community who gave of their time willingly and freely. In the 1970s and 80s the Irish centre became a staple of Nottingham’s night life, not just for the Irish Community but for a whole generation of Nottingham people who fondly remember the dances and discos that became a regular part of their weekend social life.
Recent Times and Where We Are Now. However, like many Irish clubs around the country, an aging Irish community and a more diverse social scene meant that over the last fifteen years Nottingham Irish Centre has struggled to survive. But a hardworking committee has begun to turn the tide. The Irish Centre recently became a CIO (Charitable Incorporated Organisation) which means, amongst other advantages, now has charitable status. The financial viability of the organisation has been ensured through letting the premises under a fixed term lease, although we have an agreement which allows us to use the Members’ Bar for community activities. Recently we have, once again, begun organising Irish cultural activities including a monthly Film Club and a short Irish history course. The Irish Centre also hosts weekly traditional Irish music classes under the auspices of Comhaltas Ceoltórí Éireann, and is also the venue for a weekly social and lunch club for Irish elders – the Golden Shamrocks, and the Irish Centre and the Shamrocks jointly employ a welfare rights worker who offers support and advice to the Irish community. In addition, the Irish Centre will soon undertake a feasibility study which will explore the potential of bringing a number of Irish groups together in a way that will seek to pool talent and energy whilst maintaining the individual identity and activities of these groups.
Whilst the Covid emergency has put a halt to many of these developments we hope to emerge from the lockdown reinvigorated.
The Future Watch this space!