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The Rainbow Award

Belong To is delighted to open applications for The Rainbow Award 2024. 

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

This year, we will partner with youth services nationwide to support them in working towards achieving the Rainbow Award. 

This accreditation programme supports a whole organisational approach to being a safe, supportive and inclusive service for LGBTQ+ youth, staff and volunteers.  

The Rainbow Award supports your work in meeting several of the outcomes under Young Ireland: The National Policy Framework for Children. 


18 months

Who’s it for?

Youth Services



Why is the Rainbow Award needed?

The 2024 Being LGBTQI+ in Ireland report found that LGBTQI+ youth are more likely to experience stress, suicide ideation and anxiety than the general youth population. Findings revealed that shame, stigma, discrimination, isolation, exclusion, bullying and fear of rejection were the main reasons for these higher risks. 

The national policy framework for children and young people, Young Ireland 2023-2028, highlights the importance of youth services in supporting young people to thrive, to achieve their potential and to live fulfilling lives. Youth services are identified as a means of ensuring that young people are safe, connected and healthy, particularly among marginalised youth including LGBTI+ young people.  

By taking part in the Rainbow Award, you are committing to implement actions which will improve the wellbeing of LGBTQ+ young people in your local community.  

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

Participating in the Rainbow Award has given WSTCYS a great opportunity to reflect on our strengths and areas for continuous improvement in our LGBTQ+ youth work. Most importantly it has allowed us to recognise, evidence and celebrate our achievements in co-designing safe and inclusive spaces with our LGBTQ+ young people where they are seen, heard, valued and supported for who they are.”

Christina Fogarty, CEO of Waterford & South Tipperary Community Youth Service (WSTCYS), Rainbow Award Participant 2023  

Find Out More

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.

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Training for Youth Sector

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

Learn More