Message from the Director

26 January 2022

Dear Members and Friends

Happy New Year. I hope you are all well.

Most of you know that the Hellenic Centre has been a big part of my life for over twenty years. All things must come to an end eventually, and I am writing to let you know that I will be retiring as Director at the end of June.

The celebrations in November 2019 of our 25th Anniversary felt like an auspicious time for me to retire and I informed the Chairman at that time of my intention. However, when the full impact of the pandemic became clear within only a few months of that decision, I simply felt that I could not leave the Centre and the Staff at such a difficult time. For almost two years, I have done my best to keep the essence of the Centre alive, albeit having to adapt its workings to extraordinary circumstances.

It was with great relief for all of us that last September we were able to meet again in person at our physical location and to hold our events, lectures, concerts, and children’s events. With some kind of normality emerging at that time, I informed the Trustees that I would like to retire by the end of June 2022. With the start of this year bringing cautious optimism that at least in the UK, we are slowly moving away from the pandemic phase of Covid, the Trustees have started to look for my replacement.

Over the years, there have inevitably been difficulties and challenges to address. As I now get closer to looking back, my overriding reflection is great happiness on how the Hellenic Centre has developed over my time as Director, from a large space with just a few cultural events a year to a multi-purpose venue able to hold over fifty events a year.

My sincere thanks to all of the Trustees and to the Members of the Executive Board for their encouragement, support and trust in me. I would like especially to thank all of my staff for their dedication over so many years; it is amazing what a strong team working together can achieve.

It has been a privilege to be the Director of the Hellenic Centre, and I want to thank you all personally for your support over the years. I am sure the Centre will continue to flourish; it can only do so with your ongoing commitment to it.

In the meantime, I look forward to seeing you again at future events.

With my very best wishes

Agatha Kalisperas BEM, JP

Director of the Hellenic Centre

Overview 2020 Overview 2021 25th Anniversary Book

October 2021

Dear Members and Friends

I hope you and your families are well.

It is my great pleasure to report that we have now resumed our live events at the Centre. We hosted a concert in September and have held the opening of the exhibition 1821: Visions of freedom, celebrating 200 years of Greek Freedom last week. These events attracted over 100 people each. I think we were all ready to venture out again and it was delightful to see the Centre come back to life.

Our Member Societies have also started their events and we are grateful to them for enriching the cultural life of the Centre.

We have a very rich programme of events for this autumn: lectures, concerts, children’s events and many more. Below is the full list but do check on our website for any changes
Look forward to welcoming you all to the Hellenic Centre soon.

With my very best wishes

Agatha Kalisperas
Director of the Hellenic Centre


July 2021

Dear Members and Friends

I hope you are all well.

We were all looking forward to the relaxing of restrictions that came this Monday 19 July, on the basis that they would coincide with a dramatically reduced threat from the virus. In practice, elevated risks remain with us for now, and therefore on balance and for the safety of all, we have decided that our live events at the Hellenic Centre should not resume until September.

The concert that had been planned for July (referenced in my May note) is now planned for Friday 24 September in our Great Hall. We very much hope that this will take place then and that it will be part of the broader autumn cultural live programme that we are preparing for.

I look forward to seeing you all at that time.

With my best wishes for a relaxing summer.

Agatha Kalisperas
Director of the Hellenic Centre

May 2021

Dear Members and Friends

I hope that you and your families are safe and well.

It seems that the vaccination programme is proceeding successfully and that as a result we can slowly slowly see the return to normal life.

We have had over one year of virtual cultural events but we are all longing now to resume our live in-person activities at the Centre.

Due to the existing travel restrictions our June lectures will be via Webinar, as the speaker for 11th June lives in Greece and the speaker on 18th June lives in Cyprus (links below). We have therefore planned our in-person events to start in the Autumn, and already have a rich list but there will be more so please look at our website regularly.

In the meantime, if the Covid restrictions allow us we may have a live concert with Greek music in July the Great Hall.

I look forward to welcoming you to our building soon.

My very best wishes to you all for the summer.

Agatha Kalisperas
Director of the Hellenic Centre
Haygarth_Audience @ Ioannina_B_GT“The land of the great, the home of the brave.” Echoes of the Greek War of Independence on Stage.
Friday 11 June, 6pm
Find out more and Register

Vasilis Michaelides“9 July 1821”: An epic poem on the 1821 events in Cyprus by Vassilis Michaelides.
Friday 18 June, 6pm
Find out more and Register

April 2021

Dear Members and Friends of the Hellenic Centre

It is over one year since we had to stop our live cultural events. Like you, I am disappointed that we are still not able to resume our normal activities, especially with Easter approaching. For the second year now, we cannot celebrate our traditional Greek Easter with red eggs and lovely music in our Great Hall. However, we have planned some music at the end of April, so we can, at least, celebrate virtually!

Our online events have been a great success and I am delighted that such a large number of people have been able to attend. I thank you all for your continuous support. Many people helped to make this possible.

I want to thank the academics from the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Patras, Kings’ College, Ioannina and other institutions for enriching our cultural programme with their excellent series of lectures. If you have missed them, they are all available on our website here. Special thanks also to the musicians for the joy they gave us with their concerts and to the artists for their beautiful exhibitions.

We have all enjoyed what at first was the excitement of novelty – online events, zoom meetings etc., which have now become part of our new normal. However, I think we are all ready to go back to real socialising again and to our live events. My hope is that the vaccination programme in the country is successful and we will be able to welcome you all at our Centre in the very near future.

My warm wishes to you and to your families for the Western Easter on 4th April and the Greek Easter on 2th May.

Agatha Kalisperas
Director of the Hellenic Centre

December 2020

Dear Members and Friends of the Hellenic Centre,

I have been proud of the community spirit that sustains the Hellenic Centre since I first became its full time director in 1997. I could never then have imagined the challenge that 2020 would have brought us, but at the same time could not be prouder of your support.

I am personally so grateful for everything you have done to keep all our spirits up, including the number of messages asking about the welfare of the staff; the ongoing desire to know when you will be able to visit the Centre again; your support for our virtual events programme and the academics and musicians who have enriched it ; and the number of individual donations.

The doors of the Centre may be closed to events, but we have not stopped working for the Centre’s present and future. All the Staff have had to adapt to working in the office or at home, with lots of administration, maintenance and planning of virtual and live events. We have not stopped!

This is a hugely difficult time for everyone, with many of you being away from your home and families and my thoughts are with you all.

As my own family know, I am an optimistic person at heart and believe that 2021 brings us better news, and that we will be welcoming you again at the Hellenic Centre soon.

Christmas and the New Year remain a special time. My warm wishes to you and  to your families.

Agatha Kalisperas
Director of the Hellenic Centre

October 2020

Dear Members and Friends

Hope you are all well and safe.

I just wanted to send a quick follow up to my email last month.

On Sunday, we had our first on-line concert of this term, recorded in the Friends Room of our building. We were delighted that over 150 people watched a special afternoon of Greek music and I am personally touched by your support to the musicians and to the Centre.

Right now, your support is vital if we are to navigate the next few months. Whilst the Trustees and the Staff are doing their best to keep the Centre alive with cultural events such as the one above, and with corporate events which government regulations permit, this is not in and of itself sustainable.

As such, donate generously and know that you are helping the community at a critical time. Please donate here.

With many thanks and warm regards

Agatha Kalisperas

September 2020

Dear Members and Friends of the Hellenic Centre

I hope that you and your families are all well and healthy.

It is six months now since the Centre had to close during these unprecedented times. I contacted you in April with the forward-looking hope that at this time you would be receiving our Diary of Events with the list of our autumn events. Unfortunately, this is not the case this year: the nature of the Centre means that an effective reopening of live events remains dependent on directions from the UK government.

In the meantime, we remain present through our Website, Facebook and other Social Media. I am pleased that many of you are following us there, as these will remain important channels for communication even after the Centre reopens. If there is one thing that this period has reinforced, it is the importance of technology in addition to the irreplaceable nature of social interaction, and I encourage our members who are less familiar with technology to take the opportunity to interact with us there.

We have a programme of virtual events for this autumn. Many are already on our website but soon there will be more, amongst them lectures from academics, presentations on Greek language, literature, health, archaeology, philosophy, concerts and exhibitions.

The Centre is an independent charity. Contrary to what many people believe we have no major funding from governments or institutions. Historically we have relied primarily on our corporate venue hire in order to fund a rich and diverse cultural programme. The Centre is presently suffering financially and our income has dropped by more than 90% this year. It is therefore urgent and important that you can support us at this difficult time. We are thankful for the continued financial support from those of you who have been able to help and we hope that many more of you will consider doing so in the future.

The Trustees of the Hellenic Community Trust are doing their best to support both the staff and the building so that we are ready to resume our activities as soon as this is allowed.

We have been welcoming you to our events for 25 years and we are confident that we will overcome this terrible situation and that the Centre will once again be full of events and people.

Please stay connected with us, enjoy our virtual events and we look forward to the time when we will welcome you to our building again.

Warm regards

Agatha Kalisperas
Director of the Hellenic Centre

April 2020

Dear Members and Friends

I hope you and your families and friends are all healthy and well.

For many of us Easter is one of the most important days of the calendar with all of the traditions it brings together. This Easter – the Western Easter this Sunday 12th April and the Orthodox Easter next Sunday 19th April – will be different of course, and our thoughts are with all of those who are away from family during these challenging times.

All our events from the middle of March until the end of May have been cancelled and the building is empty but we are going to reschedule the events at a later stage. When this time comes, we are looking forward to bringing the Hellenic Centre back to its vibrant old self and renew the foundations on which the Hellenic Centre was built.

And as many of you know, the Hellenic Centre celebrated its 25th Anniversary last year. A commemorative book was printed in January which we started posting but unfortunately due to the virus situation we have not managed to post it to all our Members. Until we are able to do so, you can all see an electronic version of our work over the 25 years on this link here.

We thank you very much for your continued support, for renewing your membership and for your donations and look forward to welcoming you at the Centre.

With my best wishes

Agatha Kalisperas
Director of the Hellenic Centre

We are deeply saddened by the passing of Her Majesty the Queen. Those of us who were born in this country and those who made our homes here, have admired her dedication to the service of the people and the countries of the Commonwealth for which she has done so much to nurture. She has been steadfast in providing stability and national unity at a time of enormous change and has been an example of selfless dedication to duty for all of us.
We extend to His Majesty Charles III and the rest of the Royal Family our heartfelt condolences and join the nation in their grief of the passing of our much loved Queen.
The Hellenic Community Trust
The Hellenic Centre

Lectures, Book Launches and Discussions

Watch a a tribute, in Greek, to Vassos Karagiorgis by the journalist and writer Costas Serezis, or find out more about Ruth Padel‘s latest book Daughters of the Labyrinth, or Sam Albatros book ελαττωματικό ΑΓΟΡΙ – faulty BOY.

Lectures, Book Launches and Discussions

Virtual Events

Explore our library of virtual events – listen to a range of lectures and discussions recorded live at the Hellenic Centre this year.


Virtual Events

Celebrating 25 Years

Last year we celebrated our 25th Anniversary, and published this commemorative book to mark the occasion.

Download the 25th Anniversary PDF