The Rainbow Project and HERe NI benefit from £260,000 funding boost

Date published: 10 March 2022

Health Minister Robin Swann has visited The Rainbow Project and HERe NI after the organisations were awarded more than £260,000 through the Mental Health Support Fund.

Heath Minister meeting the Rainbow Project and HEREe NI

The fund was established by the Health Minister to enable charities and organisations across Northern Ireland to enhance the vital mental health support and help on offer. Almost 110 charities and organisations have now benefitted from available funding of over £16 million.

Speaking during a visit to The Belfast LGBT Centre, Minister Swann, said: “I am delighted that The Rainbow Project and HERe NI have been able to benefit from the Mental Health Support Fund. The teams here provide essential support for LGBTQIA+ people and this grant will help them deliver vital mental health support to those who need it.

“Similar to many other organisations and charities across Northern Ireland, The Rainbow Project and HERe NI have experienced a significant increase in demand for services over the course of the past two years. 

“I heard today how the range of services provided by both organisations have been able to make a positive impact on the lives of service users, and I commend all the staff for everything they are doing to support LGBTQIA+ people and their families.”

The grant awarded to the Rainbow project will enable the organisation, in partnership with HERe NI to employ additional staff for their mental health support project. The funding received will ensure that people and their families are supported to access the support that they need when they need it, that they have the skills and resilience to manage their emotional and mental health through increased skills, and ensure that LGBTQIA+ people are assisted in managing and improving their mental health or their recovery from mental ill health.

Aisling Twomey, Policy and Advocacy Manager, The Rainbow Project. “This investment in our mental health services couldn’t have come at a more important time. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been felt by communities across the world and the need for mental health support services has never been greater. Throughout the last two years, we have seen a substantial increase in the number of clients seeking to access our services and those of our partners. We are excited to be working with our partners in HERe NI on this important project and know we can have a substantial impact on the lives of many LGBTQIA+ people through this project.”

Cara McCann, Director of HERe NI, said: “We want to say a massive thanks to the Health Minister for the funding he has put into mental health services in our sector. This grant will make a huge difference to the clients that come through our doors every single day. Through this funding we will have two additional health advocates and be able to extend counselling hours, as well as provide family and art therapies. We are looking forward to getting started so that we can deliver these essential services.”

Notes to editors: 

  1. Pictured at The Belfast LGBT Centre are Health Minister Robin Swann with Cara McCann, Director of HERe NI and Aisling Twomey, Policy and Advocacy Manager at The Rainbow Project.
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