Equalitee.co.uk was created in 2016 as a Social Enterprise, part funded by the Big Lottery Fund, to increase the sustainability and protect the future of The Rainbow Project and it’s services across Northern Ireland. We work and engage directly with the Young People in Foyle to ensure they have a say in how the project runs and they can participate in areas that will enable them to increase their skill set.
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) about 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.
Equalitee.co.uk is service user led, and our volunteers are the life source of what we do. The designs on t-shirts and other products available have been designed for us, by staff, volunteers, local artists and most importantly the people at the centre of our organisation, those who use our services.
Any and all profits that come from equalitee.co.uk are put straight back in to the services The Rainbow Project provide; Counselling, Sexual Health care, Advocacy, Mental Health support, helping to deal with isolation the rural LGB&/T Community copes with.
We want to ensure the future of The Rainbow Project, so that we can ensure the future for all LGB&/T citizens and that support is available when it is needed.
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