Member Spotlight: Rainbow Head

Each month we shine the spotlight on one of our Members so that you can find out a little more about them and the amazing people behind the logos! This month we chat to Jen from Rainbow Head about setting up a group whilst at College and planning an organisational  structure change. 

Group Stats:
Joined LGBT Consortium: June 2013
Structure: Currently an informal Community group, but planning to transition to Charitable Incorporated Organisation
Mission: RAINBOW HEAD is an all-inclusive group for young people supporting each other's mental well-being and having fun. It offers a safe space for people of all gender identities, sexualities and mental health difficulties. 

Rainbow Head was founded in 2012 to fill a huge gap in a borough with nothing for LGBT+ young people, and little support for those struggling with their mental health outside of acute and clinical services. Jen Fidai started Rainbow Head while at college, and dropped out to spend more time developing it.  

We put Jen under the spotlight for 5 minutes to talk to her about starting the group.

LGBTC – Tell us what made you set the group up?

It started because I kept getting phone calls and emails at College, where I ran the LGBT+ society, from professionals wanting to refer young people to me for support them around being LGBT+ and coming out. We couldn't take any of them because it was an internal society, and after a while I was just like, this is something that needs to exist, all these young people need somewhere to go and be themselves, and so Rainbow Head was born.

LGBTC - What is your motivation for running the group?

There's still a huge need for safe and informal spaces for young people who are LGBT+ or questioning or who have mental health difficulties. I'm always being contacted for information and being referred young people that have nowhere else to engage. It's incredibly heart-warming to see young people's transition from the first time I meet them to once they've been here a while and then when they leave or move on... so many young people come to us really shy and nervous, and it's so amazing to see them relaxing and being themselves.

LGBTC - What do you think will be the biggest challenge for your group in 2016? 

Our biggest challenge over the next year will be restructuring - it's going to be a huge learning curve

Hopefully, with all the support of our trustees and partners and young people, we'll come out of the other side stronger and ready to take on the next phase of our journey. We're hoping to maintain all of our work while we make the transition, and are really relying on everyone we work with for it to be successful.

LGBTC - Do you have a recent success story that you would like to share with other Members?

It's really difficult to choose just one! Recently, we had a young person return to us after a year or so away. When they were a member previously, they were really shy and somewhat withdrawn and although really engaged one on one, was more distant in the group. A year at university and a year further in their transition, and she's really come out of her shell! It's such an amazing change to see her so happy and bouncy and really invested in doing things with the group. She told me that thanks to coming to Rainbow Head while she was still at school and in the very early stages of her transition, really made gave her confidence to live as the person she wanted to be and to join the LGBT+ and feminist societies at uni, where she really found her place and a knack for campaigning. I'm so proud of her!

LGBT - What type/structure is your group and why did you decide on this type of group? 

We're currently a community group, but we're hoping to make the transition this year to becoming a charitable incorporated organisation

LGBTC - Tell us one positive and one negative aspect related to the type/structure of your group

At the moment, we're really lucky, because we have complete autonomy and don't have to do a lot of official reporting, this makes being able to just get stuck in much more fun and functional. However, it does mean that we can't apply for much funding or be able to be supported in certain ways, so we have to remain completely volunteer led and have all our premises and resources donated.

LGBTC - How you use your Membership with LGBT Consortium?

We use our membership to keep up to date with what other organisations are up to, what training and events are going on and where/to whom we can sign post and partner with. It's also really useful for advice and networking. We're looking forward to being able to using your other services as we go through the changes of the next year.

LGBTC - What one piece of advice would you give to our Members who are just starting out?

Ask for help and advice and support where you can - you'll always find someone who knows what to do and where to look and how to make it easier, but you won't find those tricks and resources if you don't keep on asking.

Find out more about Rainbow Head here 

 

 

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