Funding keeps mental health LGBTQI+ youth service running

Rainbow Minds has been set up to support young LGBTQI+ people in Hackney.

Rainbow Minds has been set up to support young LGBTQI+ people in Hackney. - Credit: Co-op

Grocery chain Co-op and mental health charity Mind have announced further funding for a local mental wellbeing service for young LGBTQI+ people. 

Young Rainbow Minds, which is run by Mind in the City in Hackney, supports the mental wellbeing of young people in the LGBTQI+ community aged 17-24. 

Hackney was chosen as a location by Co-op and Mind, after it was identified as having high levels of inequality, using data from Co-op’s Community Wellbeing Index.

Vanessa Morris, Chief Executive of Mind in the City said: “LGBTQI+ young people, especially those from racialised communities, face additional barriers to good mental health.

"With the Co-op’s help, Young Rainbow Minds is building a restorative community, supporting LGBTQI+ young people to share compassionate self-care, trust, and the freedom to be themselves. The pandemic has been particularly hard on young LGBTQI+ folk, and so tailored support services like ours are all the more important.”

A 2021 survey conducted by Mind, involving 10,000 people, revealed how young people's mental health has been particularly impacted by the pandemic. 

It revealed that 68 per cent of young people reported a deterioration in their mental health. 


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Despite lockdown lifting, the study revealed that 44pc of 16 to 25-year-olds, who had experienced neutral or negative feelings over a two week period, attributed these feelings to mental health problems.

The Co-op, in partnership with Mind, originally funded the Young Rainbow Minds pilot service and following its success will continue to fund the service for a further year.

The Rainbow Minds launch.

(From left) Bex Large – Young Rainbow Minds practitioner Bex Large, chief executive of Mind Paul Farmer, Rebecca Birkbeck Co-op director of community and shared value and chief executive of Co-op Steve Murrells. - Credit: Co-op

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The service will also be expanded to work with Rainbow Noir to support LGBTQI+ people of colour and give young people the skills to support others in the community.

As part of its partnership with Mind, Co-op is fundraising £8m to support this type of new community service and has so far raised £6m.

Over the next year, the Co-op will be holding more fundraising activities to achieve their target of raising £8m for mental health services across Britain. 

The funding will also give Mind in the City a chance to expand and work with  Manchester group Rainbow Noir to support LGBTQI+ people of colour and give young people the skills to support others in the community.

Co-op chief executive Steve Murrells and Mind CEO Paul Farmer visited Mind in the City in Hackney on October 1 to mark the announcement for further funding.


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