The Rainbow Project

The Rainbow Project

The Rainbow Project was founded in 1994 in response to the HIV/AIDS crisis in Northern Ireland. Since our beginnings we have developed in an LGBT organisation with the aim of promoting the health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Northern Ireland.

We have two offices, one in Belfast and one in L’Derry. We operate a range of services and support including counselling services, rapid HIV and Syphilis testing, outreach GUM clinics, befriending, listening ear support, advocacy and much more.


The Rainbow Project in L'Derry?

The Rainbow Project’s Foyle LGBT Centre is open as a drop in

Monday 12pm – 2pm

Wednesday 12pm – 6pm

Thursday 12pm – 2pm

Please feel free to come along on any of these days to meet other LGBT people, learn more about our services or talk to one of our staff.

There are a range of services available through our LGBT centre including counselling, befriending, rapid HIV testing and much more. Feel free to contact our Foyle Office anytime to find out more about our services or to talk to someone call us on 028 7128 3030 or email

Staff Team

John O’Doherty – Director
Gavin Boyd – Policy and Advocacy Manager
Nuala Devenney – Health and Well-Being Services Manager
Leo Lardie – Sexual Health Development Officer
Martin Rolston – Counsellor
Dean Lee – Counsellor
Ciara O’Neill – Counsellor
Nat Creighton – Counsellor
Jayne Robinson – Sustainability Officer
Dan Peters – Advocacy Officer
Fergal McFerron – Consultant in Stonewall TRP Partnership
Mardi Kennedy – Regional Outreach Officer
Eimear Willis – Western Health and Wellbeing Officer
Colleen O’Neill and Shauna Devenney – OUT North West

Michael McCartan – RSE Officer
Michael Gray Sloan – Family Support Worker
Pat Nairn – Finance and Admin Officer

The Rainbow Project's Youth Development Project

The Rainbow Project, funded by the BIG Lottery, runs L’Derry’s only LGBT specific youth projects. We organise social opportunities, training and development opportunities and a range of support for young people aged 14-25. To find out more about the opportunities available please contact us on 028 7128 3030.


The Rainbow Project's Rapid Testing service

The Rainbow Project has launched a free HIV and Syphilis Testing Service. Tests are by appointment only and times are flexible depending on staff availability. Tests are available in Belfast at The Rainbow Project’s office at the LGBT Centre 9-13 Waring Street BT1 2DX  and in  L’Derry at the Rainbow Project’s Foyle Office 12A Queen Street L’Derry BT48 7EG. Please phone 02890319030 to book an appointment.

This testing service will give gay and bisexual men and other men-who-have-sex-with-men the opportunity to get tested in a safe and welcoming environment.
The test itself takes 20 minutes and is a finger prick test. The results are given on the day. The whole process takes 45 minutes.

For further information please contact The Rainbow Project’s Sexual Health Development Officer

To book an appointment please call 028 90 31 90 30

Service User blog:
“I was worried about my HIV status and did not want to wait for results. The staff made me feel very welcome and comfortable. I received my result in 1 hour; this put my mind at ease. I would recommend this service to anyone who is concerned about their HIV status.”













The Rainbow Project's Counselling Service

The Rainbow Project houses the only specific gay affirming co-cultural counselling service currently available in Northern Ireland.

All of our counsellors identify as gay/bisexual themselves.

Our services include:

  • One-to-one counselling: for LGBT people aged 14 and over.
  • Couple Counselling: for same sex couples wanting to explore relationship issues and problems.
  • Short-term family support and/or mediation: support for the parents/carers of a lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender.
  • Groupwork & workshops: we run a number of personal development courses, groups and workshops details of which can be found here.

How to make an appointment

You can make an appointment by calling our Belfast Office and asking to speak to one of the counsellors. Simple as that. Click here to contact us.

We actively encourage appropriate third parties (e.g. parents/carers, teachers, social workers, GPs, youth workers, etc) to facilitate referrals for young people under the age of 18 years.

Who are the counsellors?

All our counsellors identify as lesbian/gay/bisexual themselves and hold professional qualifications in counselling/psychotherapy and have significant experience.

Counselling services at The Rainbow Project are not delivered by student or trainee counsellors. Moreover, we do not believe that being gay/bisexual in itself qualifies a counsellor to provide counselling. For that reason, we require our counsellors to have specific training and experience of working with sexual minority clients (i.e. lesbian, gay and bisexual people).

All of our counsellors are accredited, or working towards accreditation, with either the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP) or the Irish Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (IACP). This means that they are required to be appropriately trained and experienced to provide counselling, that they adhere to a Code of Ethics that protects a client from harm, and that they are accountable for their practice to a professional body who has the power to impose sanctions if necessary.

Finally, our counsellors are fully insured to practice and receive on-going training and external, independent supervision.


What if The Rainbow Project is not for me?

Deciding to see a counsellor is a big step. Finding the right counsellor for you is extremely important. During your initial appointment with one of our counsellors, it is your opportunity to find out more about our service and whether it is suited to your needs. If you decide that counselling at The Rainbow Project is not for you, we will help you to access other counselling/support services that may be more appropriate to your needs.

Finding a counsellor who will be sexuality-affirmative can be made easier by checking outPinkTherapy who have a directory of affirmative therapists.

You may find it helpful asking some of the questions listed here of your prospective therapist. The therapist may not always answer the question, but you will get a sense of how they respond to you, even if you don’t get a direct answer.

The Rainbow Project's Advocacy Project

A hate incident is any act, gesture or threat that is perceived by the victim or a witness to be motivated by hate. For lesbian, gay or bisexual people this is homophobic hate; for transgender individuals this is transphobic hate. A hate incident does not necessarily have to qualify as a crime.

A stranger, housemate, family member, colleague, partner or neighbour can all demonstrate homophobic or transphobic behaviour and actions. This can have a direct impact on your safety, your property, your belongings, your children and your mental health.

The advocacy service has been put in place to support victims who naturally and understandably are fearful of the consequences to themselves and the perpetrators of homophobic or transphobic hate incidents.

For help or advice please contact (in complete confidence) Dan Peters (028)90319030 Email


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