Harvey Milk – vision, courage and passion

To celebrate LGBT History Month in February 2016, Touchstone will profile a significant figure from LGBT history each week. Harvey Bernard Milk was an American politician who became the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California, when he won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Milk began…

Thinking of friends on World Cancer Day – 4th February 2016

Thursday 4th February marks World Cancer Day, our Business Development Director Jess shares some of her thoughts and experiences of cancer and the support we can all offer:   On the 4th February we mark World Cancer Day and I wanted to write about some people I know who have been affected by the illness.   …

Keeping warm this winter

Cold homes and dark winter months have a significant impact on people’s health. One of the best ways of keeping yourself well during winter is to stay warm. Staying warm over the colder months is a good preventative measure against colds, flu or more serious conditions such as heart attacks, pneumonia and depression. The chances…

LGBT History Month – February 2016

LGBT History Month is celebrated in February in the UK, but the work to challenge homophobia, biphobia and transphobia continues throughout the year. The overall aim of LGBT History month is to promote equality and diversity for the benefit of the public. This is done by: Increasing the visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender…

Touchstone’s fourth year in the Sunday Times top 100

Each year since 2013, Touchstone has been listed in the 100 best not-for-profit organisations to work for by the Sunday Times. We’ve once again made the list for 2016 – we’ll find our our position at the award ceremony on 24th February. We’ll be hoping to see another improvement in our ranking, having gone from…

Kirklees Advocacy Service – annual review

Co-production at Kirklees Advocacy Service

2014–2015 has been a busy and exciting year for Touchstone in Kirklees. We have continued our community mental health advocacy work and have now integrated the new Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA) service into our existing team. We have taken on new staff, embarked on specialised training and increased our service activity by almost 300%….

Touchstone Leadership Masterclass 2016 – Session One

You are cordially invited to attend this very special event:- Iby Knill telling “My Story: The woman without a number” Come and hear about her experiences, successes, and challenges. When: Monday, 15th February 2016 Where: Tiger 11 Hillside, Beeston Road, LS11 8ND Time: 12 – 2pm. Lunch will be provided. RSVP: office@touchstonesupport.org.uk While growing up in Czechoslovakia during the 1920s and…

Stonewall Workplace Equality Index

Touchstone are delighted that we have once again made it into the top 100 of Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index – a recognition of our work to ensure that staff and job applicants find Touchstone to be a safe and supportive environment. Ruth Hunt, Chief Executive, Stonewall said: “Touchstone and all of those employers that secured a place in the…

Winter Wellbeing Cafe in Lincoln Green

Beginning Saturday 16th January and running every Saturday till 2nd April, our Winter Wellbeing Evening Cafe will give you an opportunity to get some advice, company and hot food at the coldest time of year. The cafe takes place at ELHFA, 41-47 Cromwell Mount, Leeds LS9 7ST. Everyone welcome and pay what you feel. Saturday…

Writing for Wellbeing – National Story Telling Week

To coincide with National Story Telling Week (30 Jan – 6 Feb) one of our therapists Louise A has written a piece on the therapeutic benefits of writing for wellbeing: Writing for wellbeing When we feel upset, low or anxious we can often feel the urge to talk about it, whether that is with someone…

“Living Well With Dementia” video

Leeds Involving People have put together this video on living well with dementia. The short film features June from Rothwell talking about her life with dementia, and shows how groups in Leeds are working to become dementia friendly. It showcases the work of a number of great organisations, including Touchstone’s South Asian dementia cafe.

Download the latest newsletter from Sikh Elders Service

Sikh Elders Service’s current newsletter includes information about: Cha Da Cup – weekly drop in group Bhooley Bisre Yaadein – a monthly music and social evening Staying warm and well in Winter English classes Film making course for over 65s Download the Newsletter here.

The Last “Bhoolee Bisree Yaadein” (Forgotten Memories) of 2015

Bhoolee Bisree Yaadein (BBY) is a monthly musical event for 55+ years old service users and their friends organised by the Sikh Elders Service. The event is held on the last Thursday of the month at Apna Day Centre where the community gathers to hear local musical talent. The group also play popular Indian singing…

Dissociation – The Hidden Mental Health Issue

The tagline isn’t entirely correct – so I’ll start by apologising for that. Very quickly, something about me. I’ve been a housing support worker here at Touchstone for less than a year but I’ve worked with people in crisis for about five years. It amazes me how commonplace dissociative issues seem to be, yet there’s…

Inclusive leadership, authenticity and a bit of a life lesson

It feels hard to put into words my experience last month of attending Stonewall’s Leadership programme. Without wishing to sound too grand, I think it has changed me in a very profound way; changed the way I see myself, my past and what my role is now. The programme is billed as “An intensive and…

IAPT Recommendations for 10 Ways to Look After Your Mental Health This Christmas

10 Ways to Look After Your Mental Health at Christmas   The festive season is a time of joy and spending time with loved ones, but it can also be one of the most stressful and lonely periods of the year. During the December rush – frantic present buying and New Year party preparations –…

IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) – annual review 2015

During 2014–2015 there have been numerous developments in the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) team. The staff team has grown to 18 staff, including a trainee PWP (Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner) who is on track to becoming qualified as well as a new role in the team of Deputy Manager. We have continued to provide…

Housing Service annual review 2015

It has been another challenging, busy and productive year for Touchstone’s Housing Services! • 231 service users were supported in the last year. • 110 service users are supported at any one time • Once again Outcome Star scores for the year demonstrate that housing service users experience significant improvements in a wide range of areas…

Tips for Winter Wellbeing

I work as part of the Touchstone Housing Team, and as such I tend to work with people who have a housing need as well as a mental health issue. I enjoy this because I feel it takes a holistic approach to helping people’s lives, on the understanding that without stability and security it is…

16 Days of Action

Why the 16 Days of Action? The 16 Days of Action run from 25 November to 10 December, overlapping the following events to highlight the connection between human rights and domestic violence: International Human Rights Defenders Day (29 November) World Aids Day (1 December) The anniversary of the Montreal École Polytechnique Massacre (6 December). Did You…

Alcohol Awareness Week

We can easily reach for a drink of alcohol to try and change the way that we feel, this is because alcohol can quickly affect the chemicals in our brain and body. We may feel like it is relaxing us at the time, but what we know from a wealth of research; is that alcohol…

Anti-Bullying Week 16-20th November 2015

Bullying does not just happen in school, nor is it always children who are the bullies or the victims of bullying.  Bullying can and does happen everywhere. Anti-Bullying week is about raising awareness of what bullying is and works to help people stand up to the bully in their community, be that home, work or…

Social Phobia and Drinking – Friends or Foes?

Social Phobia and Drinking – Friends or Foes? Drinking can often seem like a quick and easy way to address problems of stress and nervousness. To mark November Alcohol Awareness Week, Touchstone’s IAPT team look at why this is and how it can actually make the problem worse. The IAPT service can help people to observe…

International Day of Kindness

On Friday 13th November 2015 it was International Day of Kindness. One of our IAPT colleagues Sally P has written the following piece to highlight the widespread benefits of random acts of kindness: Although on those bad days it can feel like we live in a society where people are uncaring, there has been a…

Supporting Refugee Mental Health

The work of Touchstone’s IAPT team has been featured in an article in Therapy Today discussing the services who are trying to meet the mental health needs of refugees arriving in this country. Below is a small extract from the article. Richard Garland is Manager of Touchstone IAPT in Leeds, one partner in the consortium…

Touchstone and West Yorkshire Sport to deliver Kirklees’ social prescribing service

We are delighted to announce that from Spring 2016, Touchstone will be delivering Kirklees’ social prescribing service; Better In Kirklees. Working with our partner West Yorkshire Sport, we will be supporting people with long term health conditions or social care needs to get involved in the broad range of different community activities that Kirklees has…

Rehabilitation and Recovery Project – annual review 2015

The Rehabilitation and Recovery project aims to support service users in the Recovery Centre to make the challenging transition to living in the community. The project is unique in that the voluntary sector work alongside NHS staff on the wards developing a proportional and joined up approach to supporting people in recovery in a holistic…

East Leeds Health for All – annual review 2015

East Leeds Health For All (ELHFA) is a healthy living service in Lincoln Green, at the heart of Burmantofts. The service aims to reduce health inequalities and encourage health improvement. We use a community development approach and engage with local communities and partner organisations to tackle poverty, financial exclusion, unemployment and social isolation. Some of…