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The Rainbow Award

Belong To is delighted to launch our new accreditation programme for youth services.

The Rainbow Award offers youth services an in-depth, action-focused programme to become fully inclusive of LGBTQ+ young people. 

In 2023, Belong To will partner with youth services nationwide to support them in working towards achieving the Rainbow Award.


18 months

Who’s it for?

Youth Services



Why is the Rainbow Award needed?

The 2016 LGBTIrelandReport found that LGBTQ+ youth are more likely to experience stress, suicide ideation and anxiety than their non-LGBTQ+ peers. Findings revealed that shame, stigma, discrimination, isolation, exclusion, bullying and fear of rejection were the main reasons for these higher risks.

The National LGBTI+ Youth Strategy, 2018-2022, recognised that the provision of safe and inclusive youth services plays a major role in reducing these risks. This can be achieved by providing young LGBTQ+ people with a place to be themselves and feel safe, find connection, community, agency and build their resilience.

What is involved?

The Rainbow Award is a whole organisational approach to being an inclusive, safe and supportive service for LGBTQ+ young people, staff and volunteers.

There are six steps on the Rainbow Award journey, including capacity building, a portfolio, review of standards and a site visit. To meet the Rainbow Award criteria, you will need to meet standards in these six key areas. A dedicated team member from Belong To will support you along the way.

Resources and supports

Training sessions

eLearning module

Resources and information guides

Dedicated network meetings

One-to-one support

“Taking time to reflect on our work with young people in general and LGBTQ+ young people specifically has been a powerful exercise. To look at our successes, hear the positive feedback from young people who take part and really look at our practice in depth from the perspective of inclusion and equality has given us great confidence and pride in the service we provide and highlighted areas where we can further develop and empower each other to make sure LGBTQ+ young people have somewhere to not only turn to in Waterford & South Tipperary but also somewhere they can be unapologetically themselves, take up space, take charge and be leaders in their own local communities.” 

Debbie O’ Rourke (she/her), Community Youth Worker with Waterford & South Tipperary Community Youth Service, Rainbow Award pilot participant.

Find Out More

Job Role

How many young people attend your service?
How many staff are employed in your service?:
How many volunteers support the work of your service? (if any):
How can we help?:
Does your service currently run an LGBTQ+ specific group?
Details of Query
We’d love to keep you updated about our work – including information about our campaigns, fundraising appeals and events – and the impact we have by working together. Please tick the box if you are happy to receive updates from us by email.

National Network

We partner with organisations across the country that provide LGBTQ+ youth groups and facilitate a National Network for connection, information and advice.

Learn More

Training for Youth Sector

Learn to understand and meet the needs of LGBTQ+ youth with our suite of online training courses.

Learn More