Luton Irish Forum (LIF) is a registered charity and limited company formed in 1997, with over 500 members and a fully accessible centre close to Luton Town Centre. Whilst originally set up to safeguard the needs of the Irish residents in Luton, LIF is now a truly representative community organisation serving Luton’s diverse vulnerable and socially excluded people. Our activities and events which promote health and wellbeing, improve quality of life and increase social inclusion are accessed 1,000s times annually.
LIF provides Welfare support through drop-ins, appointments and home visits relating to welfare benefits, housing, community care and relating debt, applications for an Irish Passports and provides representation at tribunals and medicals.
LIF coordinates a range of activities, groups and events which raise cultural awareness including St Patrick’s Festival, The Emerald Pipe Band, Cultural Seminars and School Workshops. We promote health and wellbeing and community learning through Irish Language Classes, The Literary Society, The Calligraphy Group, Art Classes and Computer Club. For further information about events and activities see our What’s On.
LIF facilitates social opportunities through our Tuesday & Wednesday Clubs, Baby & Toddler Group, Tea and Chat and Computer Club. We manage an information website This is Luton for young Irish and Polish people who are considering moving to or who have just arrived in Luton. We also manage Catching the Boat an online archive showcasing the working lives of the Irish that settled in Luton from 1940 to 1960.
We introduced our Befriending Service to help relieve the social isolation experienced by so many local people living on their own who don’t have friends or family they see regularly. Volunteers in pairs visit them at home to provide company and a listening ear, someone to go for a walk with, attend a local activity, or similar.
LIF works with partners to provide further opportunities that members can take advantage of, such as dance, Desmonds (support group for those with or at risk of Diabetes), singing, martial arts and an advice drop-in and casework service for newly migrated Polish and East European people.
LIF contributes to local and national policy and has commissioned two research reports: ‘The needs of the local Irish community in Luton’, 2004 and ‘The Long-term Sustainability of Luton Irish Forum: A Minority Group Community Service Provider’, 2010