‘African Rainbow Family’ taking over LGBTQI+ asylum charity ‘ReachOUT’

Wednesday, June 13, 2018 - 11:00

Following an extended period of careful consideration and collaborative working, the Trustees of ReachOUT and African Rainbow Family (ARF) are delighted to announce that the organisations have merged.

The merger results in ReachOUT being absorbed by ARF as the Leeds branch of their LGBTQI+ migrant support charity, which already has thriving branches in Manchester and Birmingham.

This move provides a more effective and comprehensive support system given the strength and influence of ARF’s size and influence, therefore better serving the local LGBTQI+ refugee & asylum seeking communities in West Yorkshire that ReachOUT has proudly supported for over 6 years.

ReachOUT has been an invaluable safe space for and family hub for its members since it was founded in 2012. The move to merge into ARF’s network is great news for the future sustainability of services for LGBTQI+ refugees and people seeking asylum and the local community at large. 

ReachOUT will be rebranded as ‘African Rainbow Family – Leeds’, and will continue to meet and receive logistical support from Leeds MESMAC, who have been absolutely invaluable in the successful running of the group in the past 6 years. The group has grown exponentially in recent years and the current team of volunteers and Trustees are unable to meet the capacity that the group increasingly requires. Not only will the new board at ARF be able to meet these demands, but as an organisation that is entirely run and managed by LGBTQI+ migrants, they are better suited to represent the needs and voices of ReachOUT members. 

African Rainbow Family is a non-profit that supports LGBTIQ+ migrants in Manchester, Birmingham, and now Leeds. The organisation was founded by Aderonke Apata, herself a lesbian refugee from Nigeria. At its core, ARF emphasises grassroots empowerment, legal literacy and mutual member support, rather than relying on third-party representation. ARF provides:

  • Support for LGBTQI+ Refugees and People Seeking Asylum
  • Campaigning For Global LGBTQI+ Equality
  • Stand Against Hate Crimes

Jess MacIntyre, Founder and Chair of ReachOUT said:

“We are delighted to announce the handover of ReachOUT to African Rainbow Family as this provides us with the opportunity to improve service delivery, increase efficiency, and secure sustainability for our members. We are confident that this move will increase our service provision across West Yorkshire to benefit the local LGBTQI+ refugee & asylum seeking communities. This move comes after a year of careful consideration as to how we could guarantee the future of this group in an environment of precariousness in the charity sector generally and the queer and refugee sectors specifically. We have been absolutely committed to the sustainability of the support and safe space that ReachOUT has been able to offer to its members, and the decision to handover operations to African Rainbow Family has been a confident one.”

Aderonke Apata, Founder and Chair of African Rainbow Family said:

"After nearly a year long meticulous deliberations and consultations with the Directors of African Rainbow Family to absorb ReachOUT Leeds into African Rainbow Family; we are pleased to announce that ReachOUT Leeds will henceforth be known as African Rainbow Family Leeds. It is in no doubt that Jess MacIntyre, Founderand Chair of ReachOUTtook a brave decision when she approached African Rainbow Family to do this. We believe that this takeover will bring with it, to members of ReachOUT and other LGBTIQ+ people seeking asylum across West Yorkshire; all the benefits of 'experts by experience' that our members in Manchester and Birmingham branches enjoy under one family of support delivered by and for LGBTIQ+ people seeking asylum themselves. We are glad that African Rainbow Family Leeds will continue to enjoy the support of Leeds MESMAC whom have been very supportive all this while. The Directors of African Rainbow Family have put in place measures to ensure a smooth transition for our members across the board."


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