Huge congratulations to the Brent Irish Advisory Service (BIAS) who are celebrating their 45th anniversary, providing a range of support and activities for members of their local community. The occasion was celebrated with a wonderful reception at the Irish Embassy in the presence of the Ambassador, His Excellency Martin Fraser, and the Republic’s Minister of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD.
The Irish community in Brent is one of the area’s most long-standing. BIAS was established in 1978 to serve what was, at that time, the largest migrant community in London and one that had faced massive levels of discrimination over the decades. Many people of Irish descent had come to this country to undertake exhausting manual labour – but work that helped rebuild post-war Britain. Many settled in the area around Kilburn, which became a renowned area for Irish culture and heritage.
Over time, the community has become a much older one, with many suffering the effects of their years of manual work, as well as the more common effects of ageing. BIAS is therefore a lifeline for many. Benefits advice ensure that members maximise their incomes, whilst an Active Ageing project provides a range of opportunities to keep fit and health. WNST is currently delighted to be funding the weekly dance sessions, held at Willesden Library, which are proving to be very popular. BIAS also receives excellent support from the Irish Government’s Emigrants Support Programme, as well as other trusts and foundations.
The anniversary event at the Irish Embassy on 27th September 2023, was an excellent opportunity to celebrate all of these achievements. The Ambassador also made special presentations to two founding members of BIAS, Colum Moloney and Donal MacCraith, still both an integral part of the organisation. A fantastic achievement.
BIAS Chief Executive, Mike McGing recounted something of the history of the organisation and the challenges that the Irish community have had to overcome across the years. This contrasts with the joy and family atmosphere generated by BIAS for their members today. The chance for some of them to share the celebration at their Embassy was very special.
We send our congratulations to staff, volunteers and members at BIAS and wish them many more years of success.