Steve, the Captain of our wee ship, joined Cara-Friend as Director in 2007, and has overseen the growth of the organisation from a small local community association to a professional company, leading the field in LGB&T service provision regionally with involvement across Europe. Steve also sits on the Board of Black Mountain Zen Centre and was formally a Council Member of the Buddhist Network of Ireland. Steve is involved in cross-community work with working class youth in interface areas; and in his spare time pursues a lifelong passion for martial arts, travel and raising rare and exotic fish.
I joined the Cara-Friend team in September 2015. I am responsible for the management of the youth service within Cara-Friend, which aims to support LGB&T youth across Northern Ireland. I am a native of Milford, a small town in Donegal, so I understand the challenges of growing up as a young gay person in rural and small communities. I hope that will help me to help service users get the most from Cara-Friend LGB&T Youth. My day to day work involves overseeing the youth team in delivering the best LGB&T youth services possible, as well as advising schools and parents on issues around sexuality and gender orientation. I also meet on a one-to-one basis with young people who are having difficulty with their sexual and gender identity. With the help of funding from BBC Children in Need, I am also responsible for developing better mental health services and training specifically for LGB&T youth. As Deputy Director I represent Cara-Friend on the coalition of organisations that make up the campaign for civil marriage equality in Northern Ireland, Love Equality. I am a founder and director of ShoutOut, which is an anti-bullying programme for secondary schools across Ireland, aimed at tackling homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. I love politics, theatre, cinema, food and the great outdoors!
As Community Development Manager and Volunteer Co-ordinator at Cara-Friend my role is to provide training and support to LGB&T groups and to increase our service provision within Northern Ireland. My role involves organising training for the LGB&T sector, supporting LGB&T community groups and helping them to grow and succeed.
Cara-Friend has long been led by volunteers and it is my responsibility to ensure that they are trained up, well looked after and kept highly motivated. There are plenty of opportunities for people to get involved within the organisation and I try very hard to find a role that suits each individual and their particular skill set.
I originally came to Cara-Friend through the youth service, which used to be called Gay & Lesbian Youth NI and is now Cara-Friend LGB&T Youth. I have been admin officer here for the past 8 years, it’s exciting to be taking on a new role with the organisation.
I try to be as active as I can both within the LGB&T community and within the trade union movement. My interests are largely in reading, travelling when I can, and being lazy playing video games in my down-time.
*The Community Development position is funded by the Belfast City Council Capacity Building Programme.
My role as Administration Officer is to ensure the efficient running of Cara-Friends’s offices during the day to day communications. Being a point of contact for anyone with inquiries, providing information and referring anyone to the appropriate Cara-Friend staff.
My role is to plan and carry out delivery of direct youth work to young people in Northern Ireland and the Good Relations brief of Cara-Friend, which focuses on improving community relations within the LGB&T community, as well as between our community and others. I have responsibility for the coordination of the Family Ties project on Cara-Friend’s behalf, which involves working with an amazing team of volunteers and some of our friends over in The Rainbow Project! I am currently working towards a degree in Psychology, and have diverse experience in youth work and building relations between other organisations.
As a youth officer with Cara-Friend LGB&T Youth I provide support and help facilitate the service. My job is to work with the members of our youth service, ensuring their development as young people by meeting their needs and providing a safe and open space where they can learn, receive support and just be themselves. I work alongside a fantastic volunteer team all of whom have previously been Cara-Friend LGB&T Youth members. My job also includes working with other organisations, building partnerships to help increase awareness of the LGB&T community in Belfast. I’ve been associated with Cara-Friend for almost 6 years and have learned so much about the issues facing young LGB&T people in our society today. I have also worked closely with the Education Authority for the past few years and have gained unique experiences with some amazing people. In my spare time I enjoy reading and dancing, when I have the chance.
I’ve volunteered within the LGB&T community for a number of years, originally joining Cara-Friend as a member of GLYNI (now Cara-Friend LGB&T Youth). As time went on, I began to volunteer within GLYNI, before additionally standing for the Committee, on which I have served since. In addition to my duties there and on various sub-committees, I currently facilitate Cara-Friend’s newest social group, Twenty1+, and otherwise volunteer in a general capacity where needed.
I’ve always been passionate about getting as involved as I can be, whether that’s in general everyday management, new projects, recruitment, outreach and communications. I believe it’s important that Cara-Friend continues to grow and make sure people know about our great services, fantastic staff and awesome volunteers.
Outside of Cara-Friend, I studied Physics at university and I currently work for British Telecom, which suits my scientific and technical background. With BT, I am a regional rep. for Northern Ireland for Kaleidoscope (BT’s network of LGB&T employees), and endeavour to get involved in as many local LGB&T events across the community as I can, where you will often spot me attending or helping if I can. I’m a black belt karate practitioner with Irish Intervarsity medals to my name, and a fluent coder of programming and web languages. I enjoy creative multimedia, graphic design as well as being an amateur photographer.
Colin Flinn, a retired solicitor and a volunteer with LGB&T Switchboard NI, and a volunteer with Queerspace Collective; he was formerly Hon Secretary of Cara-Friend, Facilitator of its Gay Helpline, Co-Chair of Belfast Out Resource Centre, Acting Secretary of L+ (for older LGB&T people), past Chair of the LGB&T Independent Advisory group to PSNI and a member of the LGB&T Reference Group to the Policing Board. He has been for some years the Hon Secretary of Out&About Walking Group.
His interest in the LGB&T sector is driven by his desire to advance the equal rights of LGB&T people, and to assure dignity and respect for all citizens here. He recognises the need to outreach to all sectors of society to break down prejudices through dissemination of information, engagement and dialogue.
He was one of 10 people whom the Equality Commission for N Ireland profiled in its publication “Real People”, Real Change” to mark 10 years since its formation. He is a member of the Equality Forum of Belfast City Council, and previously on Community Safety committees at the Council.
He is a board member of Community Change and Shopmobility Belfast, a member of the AgeNI’s Consultative Forum, and an Information Ambassador and Peer Facilitator with AgeNI. He is also a volunteer with NICRAS (NI Community of Refugees and Asylum Seekers).
His other interests are biography, film, early music, local history, conservation, international and national current affairs, politics, mountaineering, photography, and cultural and faith diversity.
My name is Stuart Kennedy and I have been supporting the work of Cara-Friend for the past year and a half. I am a Senior Youth Worker (this is not age related) with the Belfast Education & Library Boards Inclusion & Diversity Unit. I am delighted to be a board member & I bring 25 years youth work experience to Cara-Friend’s Board. I have worked in Seattle, Denmark, Finland & Ghana as a youth worker. In my distant past I was an International Athlete & I ran in 2 World Cross Country Championships in Poland & Switzerland. I am in training for the Boston Marathon & I hope to run for Ireland in the coming year as a master’s athlete. I coach for my local club Beechmount Harriers & I am the run director for the Falls Park run & jog West Belfast. I also organise events & in the past year I co-organised the Belfast Titanic Triathlon which was part of the World Police & Fire games & the Solstice city centre 5k among other events.