The Rainbow Project is a health organisation that works to improve the physical, mental & emotional health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender people in Northern Ireland.
We are the largest LGB&T organisation in Northern Ireland and have two centres: one in Belfast city centre and the other in Foyle, L’Derry.
The Rainbow Project was established in 1994 by a group of volunteers who were concerned about the spread of HIV within the gay male population of Northern Ireland.
These volunteers wanted to provide information and support to men who have sex with men (MSM) ahout HIV and AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). They carried out research within the gay and bisexual communities in order to find out what type of information and support services were required.
As a result of this research, the project began to offer information on HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), distributing safer sex materials and leaflets at commercial gay venues and LGBT events.
Although our initial work was focused on HIV and STI prevention, it became clear that our service-users had additional support needs related to their physical health generally as well as mental & emotional well-being. As such, The Rainbow Project was able to offer professional counselling services to gay/bisexual men, and those unsure of their sexual orientation, as well as providing practical interventions in the form of advocacy support for those men who had been discriminated against or been verbally, physically, and/or sexually assaulted because of their sexual orientation.
Today, The Rainbow Project is still committed to the prevention of HIV and STI transmission among men who have sex with men, however, we are also committed to addressing the physical, mental & emotional health needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgendered people in Northern Ireland. We do this by providing a number of services, facilitated by 15 full-time members of staff, under the direction of a volunteer-led Board of Trustees. We continue to have a strong volunteering ethos and seek to create opportunities for people to contribute to our overall organisational aims and objectives.