The Rainbow Project’s staff team are responsible for the operational delivery of the services and advocacy work. Our dedicated team work hard to meet the needs of LGBTQIA+ people and their families in Northern Ireland.
Senior Management Team
John O’Doherty (He/Him): 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 LGBTQIA+ groups including the Love Equality campaign for equal marriage in Northern Ireland. Before joining The Rainbow Project in 2008 I worked for a Political Party. I live in Belfast with my Husband and our two dogs Saffie & Baxter and our cat Harvey. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, movies, singing and dancing.
Martin Rolston (He/Him): Co-Cultural Counsellor
I’m a qualified counsellor accredited with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and Advanced Accreditation with Pink Therapy.
My current work at The Rainbow Project ranges from appointments with individuals, couples and families to developing and facilitating personal development groups and training for counsellors in LGBT Affirmative Therapy. I have previously worked as a Residential Senior Project Worker at the Richmond Fellowship’s therapeutic communities in Coventry and Liverpool, as well as The Young People’s Centre here in Belfast.
Nuala Devenny: Health and Well-being Manager
My name is Nuala and I am the Health and Well-being Manager with the Rainbow Project. I am responsible for supporting the services team which has a wide variety of services, such as; sexual health, Family Support, Rural Support, LGBT Peer & Social Support Groups, Befriending, delivery of Workshops and Personal Development Programmes. I also co-ordinate the Smoking Cessation Service.
I have a background in Youth Work and Community Development. I live in rural County Down with my Wife, our dog Reilly and our three cats Lala, O’Toodles and Koda. In my spare time I like to watch football and other sports and I love reading and socialising with my family and friends.
Aisling Playford (She/Her): Policy and Advocacy Manager
Get in touch with me via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m Aisling and I am the Policy and Advocacy Manager at The Rainbow Project. Before joining The Rainbow Project in 2018, I have worked at Northern Ireland Assembly, worked in the Publications and PR sector. My role is shaping the organisations’ response to emerging issues for the LGBTQIA+ Community. I work with a wide range of stakeholders and am always on the lookout for maximising Rainbow’s opportunities for external engagement and partnership work. I am known to sing along with the radio in the office!
Jayne Robinson (She/Her) : Business Development Manager
Get in touch with me via email: email@example.com
Hi my name is Jayne and I am the Business Development Manager for The Rainbow Project, to assist with increasing the longevity, financial stability and awareness and recognition 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 LGBTQIA+ Community to get involved with us, either as a volunteer, donor or to utilise the services we have to offer.
I have been working within the LGBTQIA+ Sector for over 17 years and have been working in the sector full time for over 7 years, striving to make a difference for our community. If you would like to make a donation to help us with our services you can do so here: www.rainbow-project.org/donate
Ciara O'Neill (She/Her): Co -Cultural Counsellor
Hi there, my name is Ciara and I am proud to say the first female staff counsellor on the Rainbow team. I am a fully qualified counsellor and member of the BACP. I am presently working towards completing my Post Grad in Gender and Sexual Diversity Training alongside Pink Therapy. My background includes growing up in a rural environment and coming out as gay and at one stage literally being the only gay in the village. I am grateful to have a lot of experiences working with different organisations and charities including a counselling organisation set up in Mid Ulster (MACP) and Cruse (working with adults and young people). As well as working with the Rainbow Project I also work as a Childline counsellor working with young people and I also work for Lifeline working with clients who are presenting in distress with thoughts of suicide and self-harm.
i thoroughly enjoy my work here at the Rainbow Project and working with clients to empower them to live their lives in how they want to. As well as working face to face counselling clients I also help out with the professional development groups as well which I really enjoy and would strongly recommend them.
Elaine McIvor (She/Her): Co-Cultural Counsellor
I have been volunteering as a Counsellor for The Rainbow Project for a year and now work as a Sessional Counsellor for the charity. I have worked in other agency settings including a suicide prevention agency and self harm agency. I am a registered member of BACP and have my own private Holistic Counselling practice. As a young child I could often be heard saying that I wanted to save the world but didn’t really know where to start. My lifes journey has enriched me with experiences that have allowed me to empathise with clients and to allow them to be their authentic selves. I may not save the world but I can serve the world to lead a life that helps. I welcome you warmly to The Rainbow Project.
Preston Geddis (He/They) : Co-Cultural Counsellor
Hi there, I’m Preston. I am a MBACP a member and currently working towards accreditation. In the past, I have been an active volunteer with The Rainbow Project’s Sexual Health and wellbeing team. I have over 25years of supporting/caring for vulnerable adults (and early years) I identify as queer/Gay (He/They).
I am also a Complementary therapist and practitioner as well as a teacher of Hatha yoga and meditation. My counselling model is psychodynamic and person-centred approaches and I aim to provide a genuine and warm space for people to explore themselves freely and safely.”
Sara Tibbs (She/Her) : Co-Cultural Counsellor
I am a sessional counsellor at the Rainbow project. I have a strong personal commitment to co-cultural counselling within the LGBTQIA+ community. I am a registered member of BACP. My initial training was in person-centred counselling. In recent years I have undertaken training in trauma, attachment issues, suicide and self-harm, parent support, fostering and adoption among other issues. I am also interested in the therapeutic use of creative writing and other forms of creative expression. In addition to my work at the Rainbow Project I am a sessional counsellor for the TESSA project (Therapeutic Education Support Services in Adoption) and have a small private practice.
Paul Campbell (he/him): Co-Cultural Counsellor
My name is Paul and I am a qualified counsellor registered with NCS and a long time volunteer with The Rainbow Project. I am very excited be joining the team in Foyle as the Rainbow Youth Counsellor. I’m hoping to draw on my experiences working in student services, counselling in an agency promoting mens health and well-being and counselling/group facilitator for MIND the mental health charity.
Mary Shiels (she/her): Co-Cultural Counsellor
Hi there, My name is Mary Shiels. She/her and I are volunteer student counsellors within the Rainbow Project. I am currently entering into a third-year Foundation Degree in Integrative Counselling from Ulster University.
I have over fourteen years of working experience supporting/caring for children/vulnerable young people in school and residential settings. During this time, I worked throughout the western and southern trusts.
My two proudest moments that hold strong with me have been becoming a foster parent and delivering me TEDx Talk.
My hobbies are running, going to the gym, reading, walking, and days out.
Jenny Trainor (She/Her): Co-Cultural Counsellor
I have been a Counsellor for 15 years and became accredited by the BACP in 2012, I specialise in clients who suffer from low self-esteem, depression and anxiety issues and those who have been bereaved generally or by suicide. I also support those who feel suicidal and who are self-harming. My other speciality is working with adolescence and young adults (11-18 year olds) with the array of issues presented to them in todays society. Coming to counselling may be difficult decision to make so I provide a friendly, caring, non-judgemental environment to help you achieve your goals.
Lisa Kelly (She/Her): Art Psychotherapist.
Hello I’m Lisa, I’m a HCPC registered art psychotherapist. In addition to being a sessional art therapist with the rainbow project, I currently work with Newpin, supporting families and The Play Therapies Center supporting LAC children through art therapy.
Art therapy can allow clients to tap into their subconscious and begin processing their experiences without needing to find words straightaway. I feel inspired and grateful for this process every day.
When I’m not working, I usually go for walks with my dog and my partner, paint portraits, eat or watch my beloved Leeds United.
Simon Carmichael (They/Them): Family and Young Person Counsellor
I am qualified counsellor and registered member of the BACP and working towards my accreditation. Having previously worked with adults and young people in a local community counselling agency, I particularly value working with young trans and non-binary people. I remember how difficult it was finding my place in the world when the language for people like me didn’t exist, and want to use my clinical and personal experience to enable young trans and non-binary people access therapy without needing to educate their therapist while still trying to figure themselves out. Outside of therapy I am an Officer in a local Trade Union Branch, and an insufferable nerd.
Finance and Sustainability Team
Ann Davison (She/They) – Finance Administrator
Hello, my name is Ann and I work for The Rainbow Project in the role of Finance Officer. I am based in the Belfast Office. I have worked in administration for many years in various roles, from being a landlady in a small hotel to working for the Education Sector.
I am have a keen interest in being self-aware and looking after people’s mental health, wellbeing and happiness.
I love to attend concerts, theatres, visit art galleries, museums, historical buildings and feel my best when taking long walks by the sea.
Health and Wellbeing Team
Colleen O’Neill (She/They) – Youth Development Officer
Get in touch with me via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m Colleen and I am a Youth Worker on the OUT North West programme. OUT North West is a project which is delivered by The Rainbow Project and Cara-Friend and funded by The Big Lottery. The project works with young LGBTQ+ people aged 14 – 25 and aims to improve the health and wellbeing of young people in the North West. We are based in the Foyle LGBT Centre in Derry and offer a range of different opportunities for young people to engage, access support, meet new people and have fun! I have been volunteering and working in the Youth Work sector for over 10 years. Outside of work I’m a keen activist involved in local and regional campaigns. I love travelling, reading and crafting!
Eimear Willis (She/Her/Hers) – Western Health and Wellbeing Officer
Get in touch with me via e-mail: email@example.com
Hi, my name is Eimear and I am the Western Health and Wellbeing Officer for The Rainbow Project. I am based in the Foyle LGBT Centre and manage our adult support services in the North West. We provide peer support groups, social spaces, counselling, workshops & programmes as well as organising events throughout the year. We also assist with Housing, Hate Crime and Benefits as well as any concerns in the workplace or college/university. I provide Rapid HIV & Syphilis testing from our Derry office, and can offer free HPV Self-Sampling packs.
When I’m not in work I’m likely in my van somewhere with my partner, our dogs and our friends or hanging out with the circus.
Leo Lardie (He/Him) – Sexual Health Development Officer
Get in touch with me via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m Leo, our sexual health development officer. I’m responsible for providing rapid HIV & syphilis testing at our Belfast & Foyle centres for trans and non-binary individuals or men who are gay, bisexual or have sex with other men. But I can provide rapid testing for anyone regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity if they’re at risk of HIV or they’re in distress about their HIV status. I am here to help you with friendly, non-judgemental and confidential advice or support regarding any sexual health matter whether that’s PEP, PrEP, safer sex materials, testing or STIs. I proudly run ‘BeU’ our online meet-ups for trans, non-binary and intersex people who are aged eighteen and over.
Amanda McGurk (She/Her/Hers) – LGBTQIA Mental Health Advocate
Get in touch with me via email: email@example.com
My name is Amanda, I am a mental Health advocate in a joint project between The Rainbow Project and HERe NI, funded by the department for health and the community foundation. My main role is to promote good mental health and wellbeing, this is achieved by offering a range of supports to clients such as listening ear, client focused care plans, various workshops, information campaigns social activities and support parents of LGBTQIA+ young people access peer support. I work with a number of colleagues to ensure that clients get a wraparound service tailored to their individual needs.
Amie Martin (They/Them) – LGBTQIA Mental Health Advocate
Get in touch with me via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi, I’m Amie. I am an LGBTQIA+ Health Advocate in partnership with The Rainbow Project and Here NI. It’s my job to Promote mental and emotional health and well-being for LGBTQIA+ people across Northern Ireland, providing a wraparound service for clients and families. From offering one-to-one support and developing care plans to meet individualised needs to advocation and support. I want to provide the best and most positive outcome for our service users. When I am not at work, I enjoy spending time with my Partner and Our Cat, Sage. I also like to watch movies, hang with friends and love singing and performing with my theatre group.
Fern Fitzpatrick (They/Them) – LGBTQIA Mental Health Advocate
Get in touch with me via email: email@example.com
Hi, I’m Fern, the Trans and Non-Binary Health & Wellbeing Officer. My role includes providing information about transitioning, healthcare, and legal rights to trans and non-binary people and their loved ones, as well as referring trans and non-binary people into support services within The Rainbow Project and elsewhere. If you’re a trans or non-binary person who needs support or knows someone who does, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. When I’m not working at The Rainbow Project I work as a barber at the queer bookshop I own with my partner.
Sinead McGarry (She/Her)- Regional Health and Wellbeing Officer
Get in touch with me via email: email@example.com
Hi, my name is Sinead and I am a Regional Health and Wellbeing Officer. I host rural outreach groups in the North Coast & North Antrim. My role is to support the LGBTQIA+ communities in these areas, provide peer support, provide sexual health testing, and provide LGBTQIA training. I have a background in Biomedical Sciences, Music and the Arts
Outside of my role I’m also an activities coordinator for the elderly, a mum of two, and a dog lover. I’m also a professional lyricist & songwriter and WILL chat nonstop about music and dogs. Being a North Coaster a lot of my spare time involves beach walks & coffee shops, I’m also regularly seen in creative writing workshops, song writing camps and music technology classes.
James McGoldrick (He/Him) -Regional Health and Wellbeing Officer
Get in touch with me via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi, I’m James and I am both a Western and Regional Health and Wellbeing Officer for The Rainbow Project. Within the Western post I am based in our Foyle Centre supporting our adult services in the North West, these include various social and peer support groups, activities, events, programmes, training and more.
Within the Regional Health and Wellbeing post I work across the areas of Strabane, Omagh and Enniskillen in which we have regional LGBTQIA+ peer social groups known as ‘Queers Outside the City’, these groups meet regularly and allow a safe, comfortable and private space for LGBTQIA+ people to meet others in their community, socialize, share their interests and learn new things.
Outside of work, I’m usually spending time reading, watching tv/films, playing card and board games or chilling with my dog and cat and always learning new things.
Lorraine Montague (She/Her): Regional Health and Wellbeing
Get in touch with me via email: email@example.com
I am the Part-Time Youth Development Officer
based in the Foyle centre working with LGBTQIA+ young people aged 12-21. We have a weekly drop-in for the two age groups. I’m responsible for setting up and organising a youth group for the Strabane Area. We work to promote and empower the young people to have agency over their youth project by being a youth-led project. We support young people to get the support they need for positive health and well-being. Outside of work, I’m on the Omagh Pride Committee since it was established in 2021. I’m also involved in other community groups in Tyrone and Fermanagh. I’m currently studying Art and Media in South West College. I love to dance and sing.
Ren McGuickan (He/Him) – Regional Health and Wellbeing Officer
Get in touch with me via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi, I’m Ren and I work for The Rainbow Project as a Regional Health and Wellbeing Officer. My job includes facilitating LGBTQIA+ peer and social support meetups in rural areas for adults aged 18+ throughout Northern Ireland. For more information about our groups or to get involved check out rainbow-project.org/regional-lgbt-groups or email email@example.com. Through our groups you’ll get to meet lots of other LGBTQIA+ people, get involved in a fun and vibrant community, and be invited to take part in workshops, social outings, and lots of Rainbow Project events.
Policy and Advocacy Team
Chougher Doughramajian (She/Her) – Migrant and Ethnic Minorities Officer
Get in touch with me via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
My name is Chougher and I am the Migrant and Ethnic Minorities Officer at The Rainbow Project. I have extensive experience in the LGBTQIA+ sector, from working with Pink Armenia and the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer & Intersex Youth and Student Organisation (IGLYO) to leading the LGBTQIA+ portfolio at the Council of Europe’s Advisory Council on Youth.
My role is to support LGBTQIA+ migrant and ethnic minority individuals throughout Northern Ireland and engage with them in development, support services as well as lead on intersectional and ally work.
Jake Ferris (He/Him)- LGBTQIA Hate Crime Advocacy Officer
Get in touch with me via email: email@example.com
Hi, I’m Jake Ferris I am the Hate Crime Advocacy Officer which functions in partnership with the Department of Justice; Police Service of Northern Ireland and Victim Support Northern Ireland. My role is to support victims of homophobic and/or transphobic hate crime. If you need help reporting a hate crime, or would like to access the Rainbow Project Services you can contact me on 07904864957