Keeping the Memory Alive

Tuesday 27th January 2015 marked the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp Auschwitz. The liberation of the camp has become a date in the calendars of many communities at which we stop and reflect about the death, destruction and inhumanity in our recent past.  For Julia Kinch, a member of Touchstone’s…

“Understanding equality means we are better at what we do”

As Touchstone found out that we had risen to number 19 in Stonewall”s Top 100 employers (having entered the list at number 91 a year ago), it was also announced that CEO Alison Lowe had been named as Stonewall’s Senior Champion 2015 – recognising the role she’s played in promoting LGBT equality both in the organisation…

Reactive depression – taking back control

Touchstone’s Community Support Team (CST) works with people with severe and enduring mental health problems – many of whom have not been able to access support from other services. Using an assertive outreach approach, they meet with clients, helping them to recognise their own strengths and to use those strengths to set and achieve goals based on their own…

Touchstone Service Users Christmas Party

Touchstone is passionate about involving service users in all aspects of service delivery and planning.  We work together and we celebrate together. Roderic Morgan (Service User Consultant) reflects on the annual service user party in December last year.    The Touchstone Christmas Party for 2014 was held at the Sheepscar Club in Chapeltown on the…

Keeping warm this winter

Amrit Kaur from the Sikh Elders Service introduces the Winter Warmth scheme and shares some advice on staying warm and well as the weather gets colder…   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….

What I got from volunteering

Another story for Volunteers’ Week – this time from Amina, who went from volunteering with Touchstone to getting a job with Touchstone’s Peer-Led Brokerage Service. You do not hear many people say this, but I am truly blessed as I love my job and the organisation I work within. Volunteering has enabled me to reach this…

Ways to cope with loneliness at Christmas

Emma Goldsack from the housing team shares some advice on dealing with a tricky time of year…   Hi Everyone! As Christmas approaches, it is important to be aware that not everyone will be in a position to celebrate this year. In a world where we can find ourselves quite cut off from others there…

International Volunteer Day – Global Celebration of Volunteering

Did you know that 5th December is celebrated world-wide as the International Volunteer Day? Each year, millions of people around the world volunteer their time and skills to help make the world a better place. Volunteering not only helps improve the lives of others but also has a profound positive effect on the lives of…

16 Days of Action Celebration: Focus on Recovery and Nurture – Wednesday 10th December

Touchstone and Women’s Health Matters have teamed up this December to celebrate the end of the 16 Days of Action campaign, which is aimed at raising awareness about domestic violence against women around the world.  The celebration will take place on the 10th of December between 12 and 3 pm at Bridge House, Balm Road,…

Touchstone CEO Alison Lowe Wins the Prestigious Forward Ladies Business Woman of the Year Award!

Congratulations to our Chief Executive Alison Lowe who has just won the prestigious Forward Ladies Business Woman of 2014 award, in the Not for Profit category.   The results have been announced earlier today on Friday 28 November.   Forward Ladies Women in Business Awards is an annual competition that recognises achievements of women in leadership positions across…

New View Project – churches combating mental health stigma

Touchstone’s Community Development Team worked in partnership with local churches to investigate how faith communities can work together to raise awareness of mental health issues and to support community members who may be struggling with their own mental health. The project was funded by Time To Change. The aims of the New View project were: To…

16 Days of Action to End Violence Against Women

What is the 16 Days of Action Campaign? One in three women worldwide face abuse, violence and rape everyday. In no country of the world are women free from this fear and terror. In the UK, one in four women experience domestic violence during their lifetime.  25th November to 10th December 2014 The 16 Days…

Sixteen days of activism against gender violence

Every year from the 25th November (International Day to End Violence Against Women) till the 10th December (Human Rights Day) groups around the world campaign to highlight the high incidence of violence aimed at women and girls and encourage everyone to take a part of the responsibility for stopping it. Touchstone wants to stand alongside…

Anti-Bullying Week 17-21st November 2014

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…

International Women’s Day Conference – Friday 6th March

“Countries with more gender equality have better economic growth. Companies with more women leaders perform better. Peace agreements that include women are more durable. Parliaments with more women enact more legislation on key social issues such as health, education, anti-discrimination and child support. The evidence is clear: equality for women means progress for all.” UN…

Taking a stand against bullying

At Touchstone we’re committed to ensuring that diversity is something which is celebrated, rather than attacked. That’s why we’re delighted to support Anti-Bullying Week (17th-23rd November) and Stonewall’s No Bystanders campaign. The No Bystanders pledge reads “I will never be a bystander to bullying and teasing language. If I hear it, I will call it…

Alcohol Awareness Week

This year’s Alcohol Awareness Week runs from 17th-23rd November. Emma Goldsack from Touchstone’s Housing Service offers an informative article on the risks of drinking too much and how to drink safely. The festive season is upon us and we are once again bombarded with an assortment of offers on chocolate boxes, Christmas decs and of course…

Beating the winter blues: five tips for coping with SAD

Fiona Venner, director of Leeds Survivor Led Crisis Service, writes about dealing with the effects of shorter days and longer nights… When the clocks go back many of us may feel the urge to retreat under our duvets. For around two million people in the UK who suffer with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), coping with…

BME Dementia Awareness Conference – 24th November

Monday November 24th 10am—2.30pm Leeds Civic Hall Banqueting Suite, Calverley Street Leeds LS1 1UR LUNCH PROVIDED Keynote Speaker Professor Alistair Burns – National Clinical Director For Dementia Key Local Leeds Speakers Leeds Black and Minority Ethnic Communities Dementia Awareness Conference Exploring Solutions, Breaking Myths and Taboos, Sharing Experiences Organised By Touchstone For further information or to book your place…

New Care Act Will Radically Overhaul Support For Both Users and Carers

Touchstone’s Chief Executive Alison Lowe outlines the impact of new legislation on carers and the services provided for them. I welcome moves by the Department of Health to inject an additional £4 million in funding to enable councils to train their staff in readiness for the implementation of the Care Act next April. Funds will…

5 Tips to Help Manage Stress

Wedenesday 5th November is National Stress Awareness Day. Sally Poyser from Touchstone’s IAPT service offers some advice for coping with everyday stress. Stress affects everybody, but high levels of stress can affect our ability to cope with the demands that come up in life. So, it’s important that we try to look after ourselves by…

Celebrate volunteering at our Annual General Meeting – Thursday 4th December

This year’s AGM takes place in Leeds at the West Indian Centre on Laycock Place, LS7 3JA. The theme will be benefits of volunteering – and to reflect that theme we will have presentations by Natasha Mort (Supporting Organisations Manager at Voluntary Action Leeds) and Justin Davis Smith (Executive Director of Volunteering and Development at the…

Touchstone chief up for award

Touchstone’s chief executive Alison Lowe is one of a group of inspirational women from Yorkshire and the North East who have been shortlisted for the Women in Business Awards organised by Forward Ladies – a support organisation for women in business. Alison has been nominated in the Not For Profit category, along with Sandra Howard…

BME Dementia Awareness Conference in Leeds – Monday 24th November

Touchstone, which has just received “working to become Dementia Friendly” status from Leeds Dementia Action Alliance is organising a Black and Minority Ethnic Dementia Awareness Conference at Leeds Civic Hall on Monday 24th November. The conference will look at raising Dementia awareness, exploring solutions, breaking myths and taboos and sharing experiences. Keynote speaker will be Professor Alistair Burns, National…

Touchstone goes for Gold – and gets it

Touchstone is delighted to announce we are an Investors in People Gold organisation. During a rigorous assessment of our policies, strategies, training and development over 4 days in October, IiP found that Touchstone had evidence to support every indicator of excellence at the gold standard and that we had staff whose commitment was second to…

Touchstone Kirklees Mental Health Advocacy and Peer Brokerage Service Annual Report 2013-2014

Co-production at Kirklees Advocacy Service

The latest annual report from the Kirklees Mental Health Advocacy and Peer Brokerage services is available below. The report was written and compiled by Jane Mackay, the service manager. The Advocacy Service works with people who are experiencing mental health difficulties to speak up for themselves. Our team of experienced advocates support people on wards…

Report: Decision Making in Stepped Care: How do Therapists Decide Whether to Prolong Treatment or Not?

“The efficiency of stepped care systems partly relies on systematic monitoring of patient outcomes and timely decisions to “step up” patients without any clear therapeutic gains to the next level of treatment. Qualitative evidence has suggested that this does not occur consistently, nor always congruently with clinical guidelines.” This report was compiled by Jaime Delgadillo (Leeds Community Healthcare…

Touchstone’s Accounts and Annual Reviews: 2005-2013

We’re currently at work on the 2013-2014 review, to show you what we’ve been at work on over the last year. In the meantime, here’s an opportunity to look back over some of our history with the reviews from previous years. 2012/13 Annual Review 2012-13 2011/12 Annual Review 2011-12 2010/11 Annual Review 2010-11 2009/10 Annual…

Touchstone an active partner as West Yorkshire project goes live

Hundreds of people with multiple needs, including mental health problems, are set to benefit from the launch of a multi-million pound project. West Yorkshire Finding Independence (WY-FI), a new Big Lottery funded programme, is run by a consortium of the region’s community organisations and has now gone live. The project aims to help people with…