21 Jan 2019

Meet the Team: James McHugh

By Kate Grantham

LoveBrum would not be able to operate without its incredible board of 10 dedicated trustees. Our trustees play a vital role in helping spread understanding and awareness of our charity, and also supporting HQ with their various expertise!

The newest addition to LoveBrum’s board is James McHugh, who has worked in the charity sector for many years, including for the Big Lottery Fund.

Find out why James loves Brum…

What’s your background and where are you based?

I’m a born and bred Brummie, based in Digbeth, an area I have seen change massively since moving there from Moseley in 2006.

I worked at the largest funder of community activity, Big Lottery Fund, for nearly 12 years and have a passion for working with communities to do amazing things.

A lot of my professional life to-date has focused on social justice. How do we all, as members of our community, work together to ensure that people are able to truly identify and take advantage of their skills and strengths, allowing them to realise their aspirations? And then to proactively remove barriers, together, in order to build communities and a society that works well for everyone. I’ve been heavily involved in equality, diversity and inclusion approaches, particularly in working with BAMER communities to tackle entrenched inequality and systemic discrimination and exclusion.

What does your trustee role entail?

As Impact Trustee, I want to work alongside the wonderful groups we fund, our fantastic ambassadors and supporters, and stakeholders across the city (and beyond) to explore what matters to them – and understand where LoveBrum can add value.

We all want to make Birmingham better, so key to that is being able to build our networks so that we can tap into the diverse voices and stories of Brummies across the city and find out what matters to them, what their hopes and dreams are for the future. And then help identify where and how LoveBrum can add value through support, relationships and experience, so that we work together to create a city that allows people to be the best versions of themselves.

I want to help tell the story of the people and of the city to the people, and to the city.

Why do you Love Brum?

Potential. The energy that the city has – stored in its diverse communities, in its fantastic people – has the potential to make Birmingham amazing for everyone, everywhere. To build a true community based around genuine care, support, and the person is something that I try and realise through my work, through my friendship groups, and through my broader networks.

It’s also the place I am proud to call home. It’s a place that has the capacity to constantly surprise. There are so many amazing people, amazing independent businesses (supporting independents is really important to me!), and things to do.

With HS2, The Commonwealth Games etc on the horizon, the future is even brighter.

It’s also the home of my beloved Aston Villa (cue boos from a significant percentage of those reading this…). UTV.

What projects are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about projects that see the potential in people and that that put this at the very core of their mission. I love projects that are community-driven – built around assets and strengths that citizens have – which make some of the biggest and long-lasting impact on the city and on the lives of individuals.

Preferred social media handle?

I’m @hughmcjames on Twitter and Instagram. You’ll find lots of pictures of coffee, football chat, and random streams of consciousness.

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