23-31 Waring Street, Belfast
(028) 9089 0202
Supporting LGBTQI+ People in Northern Ireland

Cara-Friend Supporting and empowering the LGBTQI+ community
in Northern Ireland.


Cara-Friend has been serving and empowering the LGBTQI+ community in Northern Ireland since 1974. We provide: 

  • LGBTQI+ Inclusive Business Charter
  • LGBTQI+ Youth Services
  • Trans Specific Youth Services
  • Advocacy, Campaigning, Policy and Volunteering
  • Family Support Project
  • LGBTQI+ Awareness Training
  • LGBTQI+ Inclusive Schools’ Charter & Education Services
  • LGBTQI+ Switchboard / Helpline
  • LGBTQI+ Community Development Services & Events
  • LGBTQI+ Mental Health & Mindfulness Project
  • LGBTQI+ Inclusive Business Charter

    The LGBTQI+ Inclusive Business Charter is an invaluable training package which enables businesses to address inclusivity, equality and respect within their workplace. The Charter also highlights the need for greater awareness and understanding of LGBTQI+ issues. 

    LGBTQI+ Youth Services

    We operate LGBTQI+ youth groups for those aged 12-25 in several locations across Northern Ireland. They are fun, safe spaces for LGBTQI+ young people where they can be themselves.

    Advocacy, Campaigning, Policy and Volunteering

    We advocate for our community, campaign for change, advise on policy, and offer volunteering opportunities for those who wish to get involved. 

    Family Support Project

    The aim of the Family Support group is to try to prepare parents, children, relatives, friends – and just about anyone – on how to support an LGBTQI+ person in your family or within your group of friends. 

    LGBTQI+ Awareness Training

    This training is for all schools, community groups, businesses and public bodies who wish to increase their awareness of the LGBTQI+ community and the issues this community faces. This is a great opportunity to discuss language, best practice, and offers a space to ask questions in a safe and constructive environment. 

    LGBTQI+ Inclusive Schools’ Charter

    The LGBTQI+ Inclusive Schools’ Charter is an invaluable programme of events, activities and targets which enable schools to address inclusivity, equality and respect within an educational environment. Through proactive measures your school will improve the experience of LGBTQI+ students, while promoting inclusivity for all. 

    LGBTQI+ Switchboard / Helpline

    Have you ever had something you need to talk about, perhaps something you need to get off your chest? Maybe you need information relating to your sexual orientation or gender identity? Perhaps you feel isolated, or maybe just want to know that there are other lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans people in the world. Our trained volunteers will provide a listening ear & can help you to explore your options. 

    LGBTQI+ Domestic Abuse Project

    The Domestic Abuse Project addresses violence against women and girls and is aimed at women and girls age 12 years + from the LBTI community (Lesbian, Bi-sexual, Trans or Intersex) community who have experienced or are at risk of domestic or sexual violence and abuse. 

    LGBTQI+ Community Development & Events

    Cara-Friend is generously funded by Belfast City Council to run our Community Development Project for Belfast. This involves organising community events each year, advocating on behalf of the LGBTQI+ community for the promotion of inclusivity, communications, training, and exploring the history of the LGBTQI+ community.  


    We offer support through our different services including LGBTQI+ Switchboard NI, Cara-Friend LGBTQI+ Youth, Family Ties Project and through our free counselling services.

    All of the services we provide are completely confidential.

    If you are distressed or require help and support out-of-hours, please contact Lifeline on 0808 808 8000. Lines open 24/7

    Latest Blog Posts


    3 days ago

    Cara-Friend were delighted to formally launch the new LGBTQI+ Inclusive Business Charter for N. Ireland, alongside the Minister for Finance and our partners at Danske Bank, the Dormant Accounts Fund and the National Lottery. We were thrilled to see so many politicians and employers from across the country in attendance to show their support and to sign up to help make every workplace a safe and inclusive place for all employees.PRESS RELEASE 29 June 2022Cara-Friend and Danske Bank launch LGBTQI+ Inclusive Business CharterN. Ireland's oldest LGBTQI+ charity, Cara-Friend, is encouraging businesses to commit to diversity and inclusion by signing up to the newly launched LGBTQI+ Inclusive Business Charter, supported by Danske Bank. Designed to increase awareness and understanding of LGBTQI+ issues, the Charter will offer local businesses a package of bespoke guidance, advice, awareness-training, policy amendments and ongoing consultation to ensure all staff understand and recognise the importance and benefits of a more inclusive workplace.The LGBTQI+ Inclusive Business Charter has received generous support from the Department of Finance’s Dormant Accounts Fund (NI), delivered by the National Lottery Community Fund.As principal sponsor of the Inclusive Business Charter, Danske Bank is committed to not only supporting its own employees, but also prompting employers across Northern Ireland to tackle some of the issues and concerns facing staff from all genders and sexual orientations. Whilst Northern Ireland has made significant progress in establishing a more equal, diverse and inclusive society, many individuals still face obstacles to being their true self in the workplace.Cara-Friend’s Chair, Dr Matt Leebody, spoke about the critical need for more companies to step up and show they are determined to make their businesses more inclusive and diverse, particularly with regards to LGBTQI+ staff, “Most employers want to do right by their employees. Many employers are also aware of the increasingly abundant research which demonstrates a direct link between equality and productivity in the workplace.Yet at the same time we are still regularly contacted by LGBTQI+ employees who are facing serious issues and obstacles at work. And often those who should be able to help them in their workplaces do not have the training or access to the information needed to help support the employees.The new LGBTQI+ Business Charter will enable Cara-Friend to help employers to better support their employees. This is good for the employee. This is good for the productivity of the business. This is good for our society.”Similarly, Danske Bank outlined their support for the LGBTQI+ Inclusive Business Charter, with HR Director, Caroline van der Feltz stating, “Inclusivity is becoming an increasing priority for businesses, and it is important that the LGBTQI+ community feel safe, supported and free to be themselves in the workplace – at Danske Bank, one of our key priorities is creating an environment where all colleagues can thrive and be themselves at work. Cara Friend’s LGBTQI+ Inclusive Business Charter offers companies the knowledge and training to effectively address inclusivity, equality and respect within their business to support their staff of all gender and sexual orientations. We are proud to work with Cara Friend on this progressive programme and we encourage local businesses to sign up to the charter to increase awareness and understanding of the LGBTQI+ community in their workplace.” The Inclusive Business Charter encourages local companies to agree to undertake LGBTQI+ awareness training and update any Equality and Diversity policies to specifically reference LGBTQI+ inclusion. The Charter also encourages LGBTQI+ notice boards, the establishment of an LGBTQI+ staff support network and pledges to look at ways staff can establish a ‘legacy’ of support for colleagues.Commenting on the wider success of the Dormant Accounts Fund, Minister of Finance, Conor Murphy MLA said,“Cara-Friend was awarded almost £100,000 of funding through the Dormant Accounts Fund, supported by my Department and administered by the National Lottery Community Fund. It is great to see the positive impact that this funding is making to improve the experiences of LGBTQI+ employees here. This new Inclusive Business Charter will provide practical training and guidance to companies, enabling staff and employers to better understand the issues facing LGBTQI+ employees. I am pleased my Department has been able to support this important initiative which will help create more inclusive and diverse workforces.”Kate Beggs, Northern Ireland Director, The National Lottery Community Fund, said,“We are delighted to be working with the Department of Finance to deliver the Dormant Accounts Fund NI, which is helping to support the long-term future of Cara-Friend through a recent grant award. Our congratulations to them on the launch of their LGBTQI+ Inclusive Business Charter, in partnership with Danske Bank, to help develop more inclusive workplaces across Northern Ireland.”To find out more about the LGBTQI+ Inclusive Business Charter and to discuss specific elements and costs of the Charter, please contact:John Kivlahan Fundraising & Development ManagerCara-FriendLGBT Centre23-31 Waring StreetBelfastBT1 2DXTel: 028 9089 0202Mob: 077 5644 9408Email: john.kivlahan@cara-friend.org.uk ... See MoreSee Less
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    We've partnered with @CaraFriendNI on its LGBTQI+ Inclusive Business Charter.

    It's designed to increase awareness and understanding of LGBTQI+ issues & to support local businesses committing to diversity and inclusion through bespoke training.

    Read more: https://danskebank.co.uk/about-us/news-and-insights/cara-friend-and-danske-launch-lgbtqi-inclusive-business-charter