Meet the Staff & Board


Cara McCann

Cara is from West Belfast and has a degree in Sociology and a Masters degree in Gender Studies. Cara has many years experience in the community development field and has also taught Sociology, Social Policy and Gender studies at Queens University. Cara is mum of a son, lives in Belfast with her wife, dog and cat. In her spare time she loves to play guitar, harp, sing and read.

Sophie Nelson

Sophie has spent the last three years studying Politics and History at the University of Manchester. She has a particular interest in grassroots social movements and counter-revolutionary struggles in the North of Ireland. In a voluntary capacity, she has been involved in advocacy and campaigning in the women’s sector over the past six years, working on Girlguiding UK’s Period Poverty Campaign in 2018 and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts Stop the Violence campaign. In her spare time she enjoys going to music events, travelling and gymnastics coaching.


Tracey McDowell

Finance & Admin Manager
Tracey has many years experience in finance/admin, with a background in banking and in the voluntary sector. She lives in Belfast with her wife, 2 daughters & Jack Russell Sally. Tracey also provides support and guidance to our service users who are hoping to become parents & is a member of the adoption panel for Belfast Trust Email:


Grainne Gibson

Children & Young People’s Empowerment Officer
Grainne has a BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Studies combined with almost 20 years of experience of working with children aged 0 to 11. For the past 7 years she has worked with young children & families in a family support role. Grainne has designed & delivered programmes for groups as well as one to one sessions, working in partnership with parents to help children to reach their full potential. She has delivered programmes such as “The Nurturing Programme” & “Cook it!”. Grainne has 3 fabulous children who, as she puts it, are her greatest achievement & she loves to spend time with them. Grainne also enjoys reading & baking & has recently taken up sewing. Email:


Mary Ellen Campbell

LGBTQIA+ Heritage Volunteer & Training Development Officer
Mary Ellen has a background in Community Development working with organisation across Belfast. In recent years she completed Genealogy courses with University of Strathclyde and University of Limerick, she ran her own family research consultancy business for 8 years, she also assisted a local historian with his Written in Stone series. She is from North Belfast and enjoys cooking, reading and making small craft items using resin and some candle making. Email


Joe Walsh

LGBTQIA+ Heritage Development Officer
Joe is from a youth and community background, working throughout Northern Ireland with various organisations over the last 25 years. He is a qualified reiki healer with an interest in positive mental health. Joe lives with his partner and 4 cats. Joe likes to go cold water swimming usually along the coast in North Down. Email


Jennifer McKinnon

Older Women’s Engagement Officer
Jennifer is the Older Women’s Engagement officer at HEReNI. She has a degree in Sociology including research on lone mothers and benefits in Ireland. She has a background in welfare rights, advice and advocacy. In more recent years she has focused her work on women’s health and wellbeing, working with various women’s groups. She has a passion for holistic health and has trained in various therapies including Aromatherapy, Indian Head Massage, Flower essences and Herbalism. She lives in Belfast with two of her four children and her two dogs. Email:


Amanda McGurk

LGBTQIA+ Mental Health Advocacy Officer
Amanda works between HERe NI & The Rainbow Project as LGBTQIA+ Mental Health Advocacy Officer. Amanda has a degree in Sociology. She is originally from Bellaghy but now lives in Belfast with her wife. Email:


Sabrina Day

Early Years Worker
Sabrina is from Dunmurry where she lives with her two children and her dog. Sabrina has over 20 years working in child care. Sabrina enjoys reading and spending time with her family and friends. Email:

Amie Martin

LGBTQIA+ Mental Health Advocacy Officer Amie is LGBTQIA+ Health Advocate in partnership with The Rainbow Project and HERe NI. Part of Amie’s job is to promote mental and emotional health and wellbeing for LGBTQIA+ people across Northern Ireland. When they are not at work , they enjoy spending time with their partner and cat , Sage. They also like to watch movies , hang with friends and love singing and performing with their theatre group.

Hannah Blair

Admin & Communications Assistant
Hannah has recently finished studying at Queen's University Belfast, following her undergraduate degree in Criminology, and master's degree in Youth Justice. She has two German Shepherds called Sásta and Jurgen and four cats. In her free time, she likes to craft, play PlayStation, and listen to podcasts.

Board Members

Martina Hanna

Martina retired from the Northern Ireland Civil Service after 38 years. She worked, before retiring as a Policy Lead on Gender and Sexual Orientation as well as Disability Equality. She worked on a variety of projects including supporting an EU funded programme on Gender Equality in Macedonia. She spent eight years as a member of the Board of Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful (KNIB). KNIB is an environmental charity whose mission is to inspire all sectors of society to take responsibility for creating cleaner, greener and more sustainable communities. Martina is passionate about equality for all.

Geraldine McParland

Treasurer Geraldine is a psychologist with extensive experience of working in the NHS and the public sector. She also has significant experience of research and has managed research projects. Geraldine has experience of serving on several boards

Sally Bridge

Sally and her partner, Catherine, started Dykes With Babes, the first lesbian parenting group in Northern Ireland, in December 2000 and their 2 young sons were founder members. She has since worked on the Love Equality campaign and her Master’s research looked at school libraries in NI and how they support the information needs of their LGBT pupils. Sally works as a Librarian in Queen’s University Belfast and is the co-chair of the staff LGBT network, PRISM.

Helen Coburn

Helen has 15 years’ experience working in the voluntary sector with a focus on youth arts, community development, building resilience and tackling prejudice. She has a professional visual arts background and is a qualified youth and community worker. Helen is passionate about equality and the transformative effect of creative expression. Areas of practice include mental health, governance and event management.

Grainne Starrs

Grainne has an NNEB qualification in Child Care, she has worked in the sector for over 30yrs.  In that time she has worked in a variety of settings and was self employed (Reg Childminder) for 13yrs while raising her son. Grainne has been volunteering in the LGBTQ+ Sector for 30+ years originally with Unison(LGBT+ self organised group). Pre-Covid with The Rainbow Project’s condom packing group and most recently The LGBTQIA+ Heritage Group with Hereni. Grainne enjoys time with her partner, reading and lives with her son and Blackie the cat. 


Dr Danielle Mackle

Dr Danielle Mackle is a Lecturer in Social Work at Queen’s University Belfast. Her main research focuses on the human development and well-being of LGBTQIA+ populations. Other areas of research interests include reproductive justice issues, community development and supporting refugee and asylum-seeking individuals and families.


Dr Sarah Jo Haveron

Sarah Jo retired as a civil servant after 31 years to look after a family member who had complications during a brain tumour resection. Her two main work areas were accountancy and IT. In her last ten years in the Civil Service I worked as an IT Training Consultant.

Sarah Jo has a doctorate in Exercise Physiology and has coached distance running athletes of national and Olympic standard over the past 30+ years.  During the past two years Sarah Jo has assisted as a board member of Intersex Ireland and Focus: Identity Trust (Intersex consultant) in having Sexual Characteristics included in Hate Crime and Hate Speech legislation in both the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland.


Laura Boden

Laura is a HR Consultant, working with clients across the private, public and charitable sectors, with an aim to help organisations achieve better work and better working lives for all. Laura is passionate about volunteering and also acts as an Employability Mentor for young people aiming to get into employment, through the Prince’s Trust Charity. Outside of work, Laura lives with her Fiancée and rescue dog Tobi – they love attending Pride marches together all over Ireland.


Bethany Moore

Bethany is a young feminist activist from Derry-Londonderry.  She is a recent law graduate from Queen’s University Belfast, where she also represented over 24,000 students as Student’s Union Welfare Officer.  During her time here, she spearheaded campaigns to end period poverty on campus, reinstate student sexual health services and train student activists at Project Choice.  Bethany is part of Common Youth’s Relationship and Sex Education Team, and an avid member of Alliance for Choice Derry.  In her current role at Foyle Women’s Information Network, she works to increase the capacity, visibility and voice of women across the North-West.  Bethany has a strong interest in campaigning and working in collective spaces, which prioritise equality and diversity, to achieve positive change.”

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