Saturday, 11 May 2013

Final Blog Post!

Sadly, I have come to the end of what at times has been an adventure, but I will close on a positive note, as I look forward to starting my new job.

Firstly my new role is - Working for the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland as an Outreach Officer being based at Sloan’s House, Loughgall. My responsiblities include the New Interpretive centre / Museum at Loughgall Co. Armagh.

The overall purpose of the job, as the Museum Outreach Officer, is to play a central role in the development and management of a major cross-community outreach programme for the Sloan’s House interpretive centre which will help explain the history and ethos of the Orange Institution to as wide an audience as possible, in line with the REACH programme initiative. I may well be responsible for the day to day management of the centre, including a volunteer programme, exhibitions and artefacts.

Quite a range of responsibilities attached to the job then, but I feel I have the necessary skills to make the envisaged project a success. Teamwork is an essential part of this project - 5 new posts have been created, however there is a wealth of experience already at Grand Lodge and I look forward to learning from those with a vast experience in Orangeism.

To give a little background as to why I decided to move away from my previous job as a self employed peripatetic music tutor.

I have been a member of the Orange Institution for 31 years, joining as an adolescent aged 17. Being a member of any organisation it has not all been plain sailing however, I have remained in the Orange Institution as I believe in the ethos and fundamental principals of the organisation.

What attracted me to the post is that having worked in schools for the past 6 years,  I had the pleasure of teaching in many schools and coming into contact with many school children, students, teachers and parents. My work was primarily in the state controlled schools sector, that said I also worked in a number of cross-community schools projects. Here I gained a lot of experience dealing with students from different backgrounds both agreeing to come work together in a common goal.

Last year the Orange Institution organised a huge Ulster Covenant parade in Belfast to commemorate the centenary of the signing of this important historical document. Tens of thousands took part in the parade watch and supported by many thousands more. During that day I came in to contact with many, many past and present students, their parents and friends that I had been teaching Ulster Scots music to over recent years, and the reality is that the majority of these students and young people are not from an Ulster Scots background - but Orange, Pro-British - Unionist folk! (a small minority were of course from a genuine Ulster Scots background)

Therefore, I was aware that the Grand Orange Lodge was set to develop a new strategy in promoting and developing the Institution in the coming years - and I simply wanted to be part of that. I worked extremely hard preparing for the application process and thankfully by the end of the process I was the successful applicant!!

I am looking forward to a fresh start, working with a team of professional and dedicated people who want to work for the Orange Institution for all the right reasons !

The Orange Institution has its own professional PR officer - therefore no need for me to blog or Facebook anymore.

My sincerest thanks are extended to three men I respect and admire, who kindly agreed to provide written references - M.T - D.C - G.P., I believe their kind words contributed greatly me getting the job!



  1. I really enjoyed reading your blogs Mark and I will miss them. I am delighted that you will be the outreach officer.I think you may have found yourself the perfect job, I certainly hope so. I hope that you and l will meet some day. Good luck. Dean Cooper, Cookstown. Tullyhogue LOL111

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