New chair for leading third sector arts group

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Jim Sweeney MBE will take over from Theresa Shearer, The Piper Group chief executive, as chair at Impact Arts

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10th September 2019 by Graham Martin 0 Comments

One of Scotland’s leading community arts groups has appointed a senior third sector figure as its new chair.

Jim Sweeney MBE will take over from Theresa Shearer, The Piper Group chief executive, as chair at Impact Arts.

Shearer will step down after a successful term of almost six years as a member of the charity’s board – serving as its chair since 2017 – and after leading the successful recruitment process for her successor.

Impact Arts helps people and communities transform their lives through creativity and the arts.

Established in 1994, the charity uses the arts and creativity to enable and empower social change, providing workshops and support to budding artists in communities across Scotland.

In 2018/19, the charity directly engaged with 6,168 people through 122 projects. Almost half of the people supported by the charity are from some of the most deprived areas in Scotland.

During Shearer’s time as chair, Impact Arts recorded growth of 50% over the last three years and celebrated its 25th anniversary with the successful #MakingAMark campaign.

The announcement comes at the end of an extensive recruitment process and Sweeney comes into the role with broad experience in the third sector and in supporting young people.

He is the former head of youth work agency, Youth Link Scotland, as well as current vice chair of Young Scot, chair of Motherwell Football Club’s Community Trust and vice chair of Scotland’s Learning Partnership.

Shearer said: “During my time as chair, I have been amazed by the people I have met and inspired by the hard work of all the team and supporters. I have been privileged to work with a dedicated board helping the organisation grow and expand its reach across Scotland.

“A key objective of my time at Impact Arts has been ensuring a financially sustainable model with excellent governance in place, and I am proud to leave the charity in such good health, my thanks to the Board and the team alike.

“At the heart of the charity are the people we exist to empower through the arts. Their voice has been – and will continue to be – critical in guiding the charity’s success as Impact Arts works to transform children, young people and older people’s lives through arts and creativity, growing community resilience through creative engagement and supporting people to take part in life-enriching projects. I know Jim will do a great job as chair, and I wish him and everyone at Impact Arts every success for the future.”

Sweeney said: “I am delighted to be taking up the position of chair of the Board at Impact Arts at what is a very exciting time for the organisation. Having worked with young people in other roles, I know the benefits that participating in the arts can bring to individuals and communities. The work Impact Arts does to support people, of all ages, to find that creative spark has helped it to earn its position as an organisation that changes lives and communities for the better.”