Jim is heartened to be an integral part of The Young Foundation’s Northern Ireland team. Jim enjoys the fact that he continues to work in his native county of Fermanagh since the early 1980s. Most of his time was as the local council’s community development worker where his focus was on actively assisting local groups establish community-owned venues in the countryside where there was no such provision. Community enterprises ranging from community-owned play centres, community halls, a women’s institute centre, a heritage centre and a centre for families of incarcerated still stand the test of time. Aside from this, Jim identified the need for an independent community owned fund for sustainable grant giving, community mentoring and research for the county – namely the Fermanagh Trust where he currently acts as it’s convenor of trustees.
In recent years Jim helped establish a mummers centre devoted to profiling the area’s living heritage of mumming folk drama traditions. Parallel with this has been his pioneering international cultural exchange work involving performing masked ritual groups extensively partaking in festivals of masquerades throughout Europe and as far as the contested Bulgarian border adjoining Turkey.
Locally, Jim is involved as a trustee with his local community hall in assisting it becoming financially sustainable and has been the driving force with the local history society in lobbying for the area’s designation as an area of significant archaeological interest and the consequent statutory acquisition and safeguarding of bronze age burial grounds which were once at risk of destruction.
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