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Meet the Team

Boyd Sleator

Northern Ireland Coordinator

Boyd is the Coordinator for Northern Ireland Humanists, the section bringing together all of Humanists UK’s members and supporters in Northern Ireland. Before he came to Humanists UK, he was an organiser for event around public understanding of science, and founding chair of the group Atheist NI.

Boyd’s role is to expand the reach of Northern Ireland Humanists’ campaigns, services, events, community, and public awareness work. He is particularly motivated around issues related to education reform in Northern Ireland, and has spearheaded calls for reform of the Religious Education curriculum and for an end to religious privilege in state funded schools. He has also been highly involved in work to extend same-sex marriage and abortion rights to Northern Ireland, being involved in intervention cases through to the Supreme Court. Boyd was instrumental in Northern Ireland Humanists’ legal case to bring about legal humanist marriages.

He is widely called upon to give talks about humanism in schools and universities, and regularly features on the radio discussing Northern Ireland Humanists’ current campaigns and priorities. Boyd is a trainer for both Humanist School Speaking and Non-Religious Pastoral Care.

Iain Deboys

Chair

Iain has been an office-bearer in humanist organisations for over 25 years.  As Chair of the Northern Ireland section of Humanists UK since 2016 he is responsible to the Chief Executive for advising on and supporting the development of Humanists UK’s work in Northern Ireland. As a Trustee of Humanists UK, Iain is responsible for ensuring that the Northern Ireland perspective is heard at a national level.  He is keen to help the humanist community here grow and that there is an understanding of humanist and secular heritage in Northern Ireland.  Iain is also a School Speaking Volunteer.

Laura Fitzsimons

School Speaker Coordinator

Laura leads our School Speaker programme in Northern Ireland, promoting inclusive RE by providing trained speakers to talk about Humanism in primary and secondary schools, colleges and teacher training institutes.  Our speakers engage with young people and teachers on issues around human rights, equality and critical thinking, whilst providing an understanding of the philosophy of Humanism.

A primary school teacher with an MA in Education from Goldsmiths University London, Laura works with Humanists UK to deliver training for teachers and school speakers, and is a trained Non-Religious Pastoral Support Volunteer.  Laura is one third of the Northern Ireland Humanists Delivery Group, in which she works closely with the Chief Executive of Humanists UK to ensure the advancement of the Northern Ireland development plan.

Laura is also one of our accredited Wedding Celebrants, and loves creating unique, memorable wedding ceremonies for couples in love!

Kat Kerr

LGBT Coordinator

Kat is the Northern Ireland lead for LGBT Humanists.  This role involves organising community and educational LGBT events, such as socials and panel discussions. Kat supports campaigns for LGBT rights, and provides representation of the non-religious within the wider LGBT community and human rights sector.

In addition to being LGBT lead, Kat helps to develop Northern Ireland Humanists’ social media presence, and supports event planning and community development.  Kat, who is German, has lived in Northern Ireland for some time after having grown up in Italy.  A big fan of cats, Kat is also an avid knitter.

Ciaran McWilliams

Pastoral Care Coordinator for Prisons

Ciaran has been the Pastoral Care lead in Northern Ireland since 2018. He has been instrumental in establishing our Non-Religious Pastoral Care Volunteering service in Maghaberry Prison, and is working towards this service being offered as standard in all Northern Irish prisons.

Ciaran has been offering pastoral care and emotional support for most of his adult life, whether as a shop steward in the biggest factory in Ireland or the youth convenor at his rugby club.

It was after his own experiences as a patient in a hospital setting that he recognised the need for non-religious Pastoral Care, and gained training and accreditation with Humanists UK and the Non-Religious Pastoral Support Network.

Stewart Holden

Celebrant Network Support Coordinator

Stewart coordinates our network of  wedding, funeral and naming Celebrants in Northern Ireland, liaising with the Director of Ceremonies at Humanists UK and supporting our network to develop the profile of Humanist Ceremonies in NI.

Stewart is a Wedding, Funeral and Naming Celebrant and was honoured to conduct the first legal Humanist wedding here after the legislation changed in 2018.  He lives in Newtownabbey with his wife and three children, runs regular pub quizzes and is a former series winner of Countdown!

Jim Scott

Faith to Faithless and Dialogue Coordinator

Jim leads our Faith to Faithless section in Northern Ireland, supporting people who are leaving or have left challenging religious backgrounds, and works to develop a wider public awareness of the difficulties of apostasy.  those who are apostates leaving controlling or detrimental religious backgrounds.

Jim contributed to the development of our Dialogue training, and as Dialogue lead in NI now participates in discussions and panel debates, representing Humanism as a member of the Interfaith Forum.
Having faced the challenges of leaving behind a religious background, Jim is passionate about using his own experiences to help others in similar positions.

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