Wicklow youth service takes home national award for LGBTQ+ inclusive service

Minister Mary Butler TD (centre) and Moninne Griffith (L), CEO of Belong To, with East Wicklow Youth Service: Crosscare, represented by (L-R) Tara Garvey, Linda Lambert, Conor Hickey, CEO of Crosscare, Angeline Pluck, Paul Murphy, Liz O’Sullivan, Mary Millet, of Wicklow Partnership and Fiona Creedon, of ETB, at the Belong To Rainbow Award ceremony, in the Lighthouse Cinema, Smithfield, Dublin.

Myles BuchananWicklow People

EAST Wicklow Youth Service, Crosscare were recipients of Belong To’s Rainbow Award for their dedication to creating an LGBTQ+ inclusive youth service.

The Rainbow Award is an in-depth, action-focused accreditation programme supporting a whole organisational approach to becoming a safe, supportive and inclusive service for LGBTQ+ young people. To meet the award criteria, youth services must meet high standards in six key areas.

Minister of State with responsibility for Mental Health, Mary Butler, met with staff and young people from East Wicklow Youth Service and awarded them at a ceremony in Dublin City Centre. The event recognised and celebrated the efforts of six youth services in creating safe and supportive spaces for LGBTQ+ youth.

Upon receiving the Rainbow Award, Angeline Pluck, youth worker with East Wicklow Youth Service, Crosscare said: “As always, Belong To are a fantastic organisation to work with, and going through the process of the Rainbow Award affiliation has shown us how Belong To are constantly striving for excellence in the work they do with young people and youth services all over the country.

“They have been a constant support to our Youth Workers over many years and this process has made us reflect and demonstrates to us that we are providing a level of care and support to our young people that is worthy of Belong To’s Rainbow Award. We will continue to work alongside Belong To and the National Network of Youth Workers to provide the best possible safe and supportive service to our young people.”

Speaking at the event, Minister of State, Mary Butler said: “The Rainbow Award recognises the importance of services being, and becoming places where the LGBT+ community can feel safe and supported.

“The Government is fully committed to ensuring the safety and support of this community, as we know this can have a huge impact on their health and wellbeing. To do this, we need to address the discrimination and stigma that is often experienced by people in the LGBT+ community. The National LGBTI+ Inclusion Strategy sets out a pathway for supporting our LGBT+ community to ensure that they are visible, included, safe and free from discrimination.’’

Moninne Griffith, CEO, Belong To commented: “Today marks the beginning of an exciting journey towards LGBTQ+ inclusion as we officially launch this programme across the country. With over 20 years of experience supporting LGBTQ+ youth in Ireland, we at Belong To are here to empower local communities to develop a culture of LGBTQ+ inclusion and support young people to thrive.”