Meet the Team

The Rainbow Project’s staff team are responsible for the operational delivery of  the The Rainbow Projects services and advocacy work. Our dedicated team work hard to meet the needs of LGB&/T people and their families in Northern Ireland. Meet the team below. 


John O’Doherty: Director

I am responsible for staff management, fundraising, policy development, day-to-day management and assisting the Board in strategic development. I previously worked as The Rainbow Project’s Equality Officer and I am still involved in a number of LGBT groups including the Equal Marriage NI Campaign. Before joining The Rainbow Project in 2008 I worked for a Political Party. I live in Belfast with my two dogs Saffie and Sherlock. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, movies, singing and dancing.


Pat Nairn: Finance & Administration Officer

I’m Pat and I’m responsible for looking after administration and finance here at Rainbow. I’ve been working here for 10 years now, having previously worked in financial services. Outside of work, I am interested in gardening, reading and I have a son who is a DJ/actor. We have 3 dogs, Hannibal, a Maltese Terrier, Cain, a Samoyed and Ebony, an Lhasa Apso. This leaves me time for little else.


Harriet Long: Employment Consultant

I’m Harriet and I’m the Employment Consultant at The Rainbow Project. My role is to raise awareness among employers of the problems experienced by lesbian, gay and bisexual people in the workplace and highlight the benefits to employers of having robust equality and diversity policies in place.


Martin Rolston: Co-Cultural Counsellor

I’m a qualified counsellor accredited with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). My current work at The Rainbow Project ranges from appointments with individuals, couples and families to developing and facilitating men’s group therapy and personal development groups and training counsellors and therapists in Gay Affirmative Therapy.  I also work with the Northern Ireland Prison Service working with gender and sexual minority clients. I have previously worked as a Residential Social Worker at the Richmond Fellowship’s therapuetic communities in Coventry and Liverpool, as well as The Young People’s Centre here in Belfast.  I have been attending workshops in Personal Development with London-based LGBT health organisation PACE since 2004 and have been a programme facilitator in their Loving Men programmes since 2007.


Dean Lee: Co-Cultural Counsellor

I’m a qualified Counsellor and member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. Along with Martin, I help to deliver co-cultural counselling services across Northern Ireland to males over the age of 14 who identify as being gay, bisexual or who are unsure of their sexual orientation. It generally reassures our clients to know that their counsellor is a sexual minority themselves and has a gay affirmative approach to therapy. Before joining Rainbow, I worked in various voluntary, education and health organisations concerned with anti-racism and anti-sectarianism and was also instrumental in the establishment of the Northern Ireland Health and Social Services Interpreting Service.  During my time at The Rainbow Project I have also pioneered a multiple identity personal development grouup and project for people who identify as gay and who also come from a minority ethnic background.

Mary Hassan: Social Enterprise Development Officer

Mary is our Social Enterprise Development Officer, a new position created with support from the Big Lottery Fund.  Over the next year we will be establishing the first LGBT social enterprise on the island of Ireland.  Mary comes to us with a background in law, politics and finance having previously worked in lobbying in Washington DC, with women’s cooperatives and social enterprises in Central America and in legal roles with the New York Stock Exchange and United States prosecution services.  She is a graduate of Law & Hispanic Studies from Queen’s University Belfast and has undertaken further study at Shanghai University of Finance & Economics, University of Salamanca in Spain and INCORE at the University of Ulster.  We wish Mary the very best of luck in her new role with us here at The Rainbow Project.


Robyn Lardie: Sexual Health Development Officer

I’m Robyn. I’m the sexual health development officer. This means that I’m responsible for rapid HIV & syphilis testing in our Belfast and Foyle centres. I co-ordinate our sexual health clinics in partnership with BHSCT and WHSCT GUM clinics.  I manage our OUTreach team who deliver our safer sex packs in Kremlin, Boombox/Maverick and Union Street two nights a week and I oversee our safer sex pack packing team. I often spend a lot of my time on the phone talking to and reassuring LGB&/T people who’re concerned about their sexual health. I’ve been volunteering for our community for about five years now particularly with LGB&/T young people. I absolutely adore what I do for a living and am thrilled to work towards better health and wellbeing for LGB&/T people in Northern Ireland.


Stephen Donnan : Campaigns and Communications Officer

Hi my name is Stephen and I am the Campaigns and Communications Officer for the Rainbow Project, based in our Belfast office. My role is to communicate and raise awareness of our policy objectives, as well recruiting volunteers, organising events and promoting the work of the Love Equality campaign. I have a background in policy and campaigning within the LGBT sector and I am the former Chair of the LGBT committee for the Alliance Party and former press officer for Love Proudly. I am currently a content creator at Huffington Post, PunkOut LGBT and Eile Magazine.


Gavin Boyd: Policy and Advocacy Manager

I’m Gavin and I am the Policy and Advocacy Manager at The Rainbow Project. I lead the Policy and Advocacy Team which works across a wide policy spectrum, representing the project on various forums, interfacing with key stakeholders on a daily basis and over seeing the advocacy service.


Daniel Peters : LGB&T Advocacy Officer

Hi my name is Dan and I am the advocacy officer for the The Rainbow Project, supporting LGB&T people and their families. I offer support and information to anyone who has been a victim of, or witness to, hate crime or hate motivated incidents, to people who are having trouble accessing services such as housing or to those who feel they may be living in an abusive relationship. I’m based in The Rainbow Project but work alongside all LGB&T organisations and voluntary groups. Before joining Rainbow, I worked in Children’s Services for four years and I am passionate about supporting people from all areas and backgrounds and creating positive changes for communities.


Jayne Robinson : Sustainability Officer


Hi my name is Jayne and I am the Sustainability Officer for The Rainbow Project, when you hear the word sustainability most people think about trees and renewable energy, but it is to do with increasing the longevity and awareness of The Rainbow Project and the services we provide.  My role is to primarily raise unrestricted funds through events, regular donor giving and encouraging the LGB&/T Community to get involved with us, either as a volunteer, donor or to utilise the services we have to offer. I have volunteered within the LGB/&T Sector for over 10 years and have been working in the sector full time for a year, striving to make a difference for our community.


Michael McCartan: RSE Officer

Hi, my name is Michael and I as the Relationship and Sexuality Education Officer with TRP.  I have a background in Education and sexual health services.  My role is to deliver our all-inclusive RSE programs designed to help young people develop, sustain, and recognise healthy attitudes towards and an understanding of relationships, sex, sexuality and sexual ordination.


Nuala Devenny: Health and Well-being Officer

My name is Nuala and I am the Health and Well-being Officer with the Rainbow Project. I have a background in Community Youth Work. My role is to support the LGBT community develop and sustain LGBT Peer Social Support Groups across Northern Ireland. I also work in the Southern Health and Social Care Trust, working in partnership with the Newry Rainbow Community supporting people through one to one sessions, listening ear sessions, facilitating drop-in sessions, personal development programmes, workshops and health days and other activities. The other part of my Role is to co-ordinate the Befriending Service. This is a volunteer led service and its aim is to reduce individual’s social isolation.


Colleen O’Neill: Youth Development Officer

Hi I’m Colleen! I’m the Youth Development Officer for The Rainbow Project, based in our Foyle Office. I am responsible for the design, delivery, evaluation and monitoring of our ‘Reaching Out: Empowering Young People’ programme which is funded by The Big Lottery. We provide a safe environment for young LGB&/T people to access opportunities for Personal Development, Employability Programmes and Job Skills programmes – all done in a fun and interactive way! I have been involved in youth work for 13 years and have worked all over Northern Ireland. I am passionate about Equality and Social Justice and continue to volunteer with local groups in the City.


Maeve O’Neill: Western Health and Well-being Improvement Officer

My role is to improve the physical, mental and social well-being of the LGBT community, tackling the health inequalities faced by our service users. I work in conjunction with key community, voluntary and statutory agencies, developing health improvement programmes and delivering training to health professionals. Our services are designed on identified need and interests within the LGBT community. My background is in physiotherapy and having worked in the NHS for the last 3 years I have seen the many opportunities for health improvement that we at Rainbow can capitalise on. Some say I am a living, breathing advert for the benefits of the Weetabix breakfast and I love cycling and anything outdoors.

The Board of Trustees

The Rainbow Project’s Board of Trustees is responsible for the overall control and strategic direction of the The Rainbow Project. They meet regularly during the year to consider, determine and review The Rainbow Project’s strategies, operations, finances, and to receive reports from senior managers. They work for The Rainbow Project  in a voluntary capacity. Our Trustees come from a range of backgrounds and with a range of skill-sets which compliment the work of The Rainbow Project. Meet them below. 


Duane Farrell: Chair

Duane Farrell is Director of Policy for Age NI since the organisation was established in 2009. Previously, he was Head of Policy, Research and Communications for Help the Aged in Northern Ireland. Duane has been involved in LGBT issues since his time in college. He spent two years as the LGB Rights Officer of the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) where he was involved in training Student Union Officers and LGBT students, and running national campaigns on Homophobia and fighting the ban on gay men donating blood . He moved to Belfast in 1998 to work with The Rainbow Project as Rural Project Worker where he was responsible for service provision and volunteer support in the North West as well as the development of the ‘Homophobic Bullying Shatters Lives’ campaign. He also worked as the Manager of The Rainbow Project. He has been involved as both a staff member and a volunteer. Duane also sings with Quire, Belfast’s LGBT singers.


Gareth Johnston: Treasurer

Gareth Johnston was co-opted to The Rainbow Project Board in April 2011. He is a civil servant by profession, and has worked across a range of policy and legal areas, in HR and as chief executive of a service delivery agency. Gareth was vice-chair of a housing association and has also been involved in community development and overseas aid. Gareth is currently engaged in work to encourage the churches to be more inclusive and welcoming of LGBT people.


Margaret Peacock: Board Member

Margaret is currently director of Fibromyalgia Support NI. She has been active within the LGB&/T community since the 1970’s. Margaret was the founder member of Cara-Friend when it first established in the early 1970’s. She worked alongside Jeff Dudgeon and Doug Soby in the Coleraine office of Cara-Friend. Presently she is coordinator of the Twi-Lite Club which is a group for LGB&/T people.


Gillian Condell: Board Member

Gillian was a co-founder of Causeway LGBT Network and previously worked for LASI (HERe NI) as administrator.  During her time with LASI Gillian worked closely with The Rainbow Project and has also been co-chair of NIPB LGBT reference group. She is a passionate campaigner for rural LGBT people and issues and campaigns to highlight the inequalities and additional barriers faced by this group. Gillian has over 25 years’ experience volunteering with various NI based charitable and community organisations, through which has gained valuable skills.


Frank Toner: Board Member



Jonathan Fyfe: Board Member

Jonny Fyfe has worked in GUM & HIV services since 2001 and has been involved in LGBT issues throughout his career. He was involved in setting up the Gay Men’s drop in clinic in the RVH as well as the instigation of the Out-reach clinic’s to the Sauna’s in Belfast and more recently in Derry. He currently represents the Southern Trust GUM Service on the Gay Health Network Ireland. Jonny first joined Rainbow’s Board of Directors in April 2004 for 3 years, then following a break returned to the Board in April 2010


Kellie Turtle: Board Member

Kellie Turtle is one of the founding members of Belfast Feminist Network, a grassroots activist network that intends to create space for all those who are passionate about addressing the inequality and injustice still experienced by women today. Kellie is currently the Education Worker at the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and previously worked in training and outreach at ChildLine/NSPCC. She also spent 3 years as a community youth worker in Mornington Community Project. Kellie is a feminist blogger and has written for Women’s News, The F, and edited her own blog on local feminist issues called ‘soisaystoher’.


 Alicia Perry: Board Member

Alicia V. Perry has been a popular public figure within the LGBT community for over 20 years. She is a celebrated author, actress, and model who has a consistent background of fund-raising. She has an extensive catalogue of media work and is a business woman specialising in International Business and Marketing. Since the release of her first biography in 2014 she continues to act as an ambassador for the transgender community, raising awareness and educating the public via TV, Radio and Press. In May 20125 she was enlisted in the N.I. Pink List Top 10 Most Influential LGBT people in N. Ireland to celebrate LGBT Awareness Week.


Jen Ashton: Board Member

Jen is currently the Senior Programme Manager for Springboard Opportunities Ltd responsible for the development, design, service delivery and management of capacity building programmes for NEET young people. Originally from Sheffield, Jen came to Northern Ireland in 1999 and volunteered with The Corrymeela Community in Ballycastle before moving to Belfast in 2000. With over 17 years involvement in the voluntary sector Jen has gained significant experience from working with a number of organisations including Community Relations In Schools, Include Youth and Niacro as well as consultancy work for the British Council. Jen is also heavily involved in awareness raising and campaigning for the Peaceday campaign.


Kate Laverty: Board Member

Kate has worked in the field of Community Mental Health for over 8 years.  Prior to this she was a Community Development Worker.  She has extensive experience in global Community Development and has spent time setting up cooperatives in Romania, building homes in South Africa and El Salvador.  She taught in Australia and initiating employment schemes for disabled people in India.

Kim Walsh

Kim Walsh: Board Member

Kim currently works as a Community Planning officer in local government. Prior to moving to Belfast in 2011, she worked in Wales within local government, the community and voluntary and academic sectors, and has significant senior management experience in community development and regeneration, as well as having been Director of a specialist advice charity.  Kim is a Christian and is keen to support and encouragechurches to become more understanding, welcoming & inclusive of LGBT people.


Trevor Wright: Board Member

For more information on the responsibilities of Trustees check out the Charity Commission for Northern Irelands website here.