U Choose Projects Bringing Communities Together

25 new projects, groups and activities to bring people together are getting off the ground in local communities across Leeds, as part of the ‘U Choose’ project being delivered by Migrant Access Project Plus (MAP+). The projects are all being led by local residents, who presented their ideas at a series of three voting events…

Community Based Mental Health Service

In Leeds the current local authority funded mental health services have been the same for a long time. The commissioner for all of these services has asked them to work together more closely to improve the way we support people who need help with their mental health. Touchstone is delighted and excited to be leading…

International Volunteers Day: 5th December

The Touchstone Volunteers Project is very open, diverse and service user (SU) friendly.  Not only do our SU benefit from the contributions of volunteers, but some also take on the role themselves.   Volunteers have the opportunity to volunteer in a number of roles across Touchstone and with partner organisations. Some of our volunteers are befrienders…

World AIDS Day: 1st December

This month I was fortunate to be offered training with the Black Health Agency’s BHA Skyline Team, who provide a HIV support service in Leeds. BHA was originally set up 28 years ago as a response to the lack of information and services available to Black communities in Manchester around HIV services and they have…

16 Days of Action Against Domestic Violence: White Ribbon

White Ribbon UK was founded in 2005 and calls to end male violence against women. You can read more about White Ribbon UK here: https://www.whiteribbon.org.uk/what-we-do/ At Touchstone IAPT the men in the team are wearing white ribbons in support of White Ribbon UK and the 16 Days of Action Against Domestic Violence running from 25th November…

Two years of The Well-Bean Café: Hope in a crisis

THE WELL-BEAN CRISIS CAFÉ – HOPE IN A CRISIS BLOG – November ’18: TWO YEARS OF THE WELL-BEAN CAFÉ: HOPE IN A CRISIS (Written by Matthew Hall – Crisis Support Worker at WBC) On 12 November 2016 the Well-Bean Café (WBC) opened, having our first visitor on that same evening. Now nearly two years on…

I-ART: It’s OK not to be perky!

Following recent shows at the Horsforth Walk of Art and Love Arts Festival,  Leeds artist Helen Gibson – professionally known as The Perky Painter –  is taking her first solo exhibition on tour to Touchstone IAPT.   The exhibition’s title, “It’s OK not to be Perky”, reminds us it’s OK not to be OK and that we can share these feelings….

I-ART

The Touchstone IAPT team have been fortunate to share our offices with the work of Alisia Casper this Summer and Autumn. Alisia is a Leeds based artist who draws on her experiences of long term health conditions (including chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia) when making drawings, paintings, photography, writing and music. As we have begun…

Remembrance

On Armistice Day I remembered my mum’s dad; a well-read and well-loved man, amateur actor and architect, who ended up spending most of his life in Zambia, Central Africa. He was somewhat of a raconteur; telling tales of joining an army regiment based on which one wore the most eye catching hats on parade and…

International Stress Awareness Day: November 7th

For International Stress Awareness Day, Touchstone IAPT have compiled  a list of our best stress-busting songs! Here they are in no particular order…   Dance With Me –  Olly Murs Happy – Pharrell Williams Pata Pata – Miriam Makebe Good Times – Chic Don’t Stop Believing – Journey One Day Like This – Elbow Bohemian Like You…

October 19th is Wear Red Day: We Want to Show Racism the Red Card!

Wear Red Day: October 19th Show Racism the Red Card is holding its annual ‘Wear Red Day’ on October 19th. Show Racism the Red Card is an anti-racism educational charity and you can find out more about the work they do here: http://www.theredcard.org/about/

World Mental Health Day

October 10th is World Mental Health Day. Here are 5 top tips for maintaining good mental health from Touchstone IAPT: Create a protected space in the week to be spontaneous. Be kind to yourself no matter how you think you have done that day. Don’t put off doing the things that really matter to you….

Guides to life in Leeds for migrants and asylum seekers

New to Leeds is a new website for migrants, to help them understand services in Leeds

Where do you go if you move to Leeds from another country, and need support with housing, money, finding work or your health? If you’ve fled your home country, who can support your first steps as a refugee? Two new websites have been launched in Leeds to help answer these questions, and more, for people…

My ‘personal’ Black History By Simone S Bellwood

Old approach I don’t know about you, but where I went to school there was very little taught about Black History other than slavery. Forgive me, but as a black female born to parents from the Caribbean, I know I am a descendant from slaves. The world does not let us forget.  Those black history lessons were painful and uncomfortable…

Black History Month

Pat Regan When I think about black history my thoughts usually look to the American Civil Rights movement and as my daughter has started school I see her studying the same heroic American figures, like Rosa Parks, that would also come into my mind… but Black History Month is not about this. Thirty years ago…

Bi Visibility Day

Growing up I realised early on I was drawn to both men and women. At 13 I came out as bisexual to close friends and family, this is where I realised how difficult being a bisexual woman could be. I have had several challenges during my life including being locked out of the girls locker…

Touchstone’s involvement in the Independent Review of the Mental Health Act

The review was set up to look at how the legislation in the Mental Health Act 1983 is used and how practice can improve. The purpose of the review is to understand the reasons for: rising rates of detention under the Act the disproportionate number of people from black and minority ethnic groups detained under…

Touchstone Honoured at UK’s Largest Diversity Awards

Touchstone – a Yorkshire based mental health and wellbeing charity – is celebrating winning the National Diversity Awards in the Diverse Company category at a star-studded night at the breathtaking Liverpool Anglican Cathedral. The awards were held on 14th September and saw individuals and organisations from across the UK crowned the best in British diversity….

Active Ageing Week 23rd September

I agreed to do the blog for active ageing week as it’s something close to my heart. I’m getting very near to 50. I’ve collected lots of things over 50 years and a few of those are long term conditions. But despite them, I would still consider myself to be reasonably fit, now I can’t…

My experience working with Hamari Yaadain Dementia Cafe

As my time working for Touchstone comes to an end, I have been reflecting on my experience here and the things I have learnt. When I first started here last year, I had just finished university and this was my first paid experience working in a charity organisation. I remember being nervous and excited about…

Hamari Yaadain Dementia Café Health and Wellbeing Workshops with Phoenix

In April this year Touchstone BME Dementia Service partnered with Phoenix Health and Wellbeing to provide a year of massage therapy sessions for our Dementia Café members. Once a month, we have two therapists from Phoenix join us for an hour at the Café, and they provide a variety of different workshops for our group….

Courses in Beeston and Cottingley for new and expectant parents

Best Start Peer Support Project If you are pregnant or a carer of an under 2 yr old and live in South or East Leeds, why not get involved? Improve your self-esteem, learn new skills and help others in your community. What can we offer? The Best Start Peer Support Programme is offering a free course…

World Mindfulness Day and Eating Raisins

Ok, so you’re reading a blog about mindfulness, maybe you already have an app or two on your phone for mindfulness and maybe you are already using mindfulness on a regular basis. Or maybe not, you could be a complete beginner and wondering what all the fuss is about. Either way, there are loads of…

Depression Recovery Class – new dates for September!

Learn skills to protect from and overcome depression with a unique Islamic perspective! Our latest Depression Recovery Class is a free 6 week course which starts on Monday 17th September at Leeds Grand Mosque from 5.15-7.15pm. On the course you can learn to: Look after and improve your well-being Understand the common signs of low…

International Forgiveness Day: 5th August

When I think about forgiveness, I automatically think about it in terms of something you do to someone else. It is an idea that is closely entwined with compassion and kindness and is an active decision to let go of the anger you hold towards someone for something you believe they have done wrong. The…

Interwoven Histories – Animation and poetry workshops with Leeds Irish CHIME Group

As part of our Celebrating Age ‘Interwoven Histories’ project, Pavilion and Touchstone’s BME Dementia Service partnered with Leeds Irish Health and Homes’ CHIME Art Group to deliver a three part workshop focusing on the groups ‘first impressions’ of Leeds when many of them migrated to England from Ireland. Prior to the workshops, Teresa who runs…

Oh, we do like to be beside the seaside!

Hamari Yaadain Dementia Café visited Hornsea for a day of relaxation, delicious food and time to enjoy the beach. We arrived just before lunchtime and stopped at a little café, where we shared food prepared by some of our group members. A feast of samosas, chapattis, curry and an array of homemade chutneys! Members of…

Annual Service User Survey 2018 results

‘Amazing….would recommend to everyone’  The above comment from one of our service users as part of Touchstone’s Annual Service User Survey exercise pretty much sums up what the overwhelming majority of service users think of Touchstone. The following headline information reinforces this view: Overall  96% of service user respondents indicated that Touchstone is an excellent…

Touchstone shortlisted for Investors in People Awards 2018

Yorkshire based wellbeing charity Touchstone has been named as a leader in people management practice globally, having been shortlisted in the Excellence in Leadership and Management category of the Investors in People Awards 2018. Alison Lowe, Touchstone’s chief executive, said: “I am delighted our philosophy of distributed leadership has been recognised by this award nomination. Everyone…

Malala Day

Malala Yousafzai turned 21 on the 12th of July.   A few months ago I popped into my local library at the Reginald Centre and walked out with a copy of a now 5-year-old book: “I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban”.   You may have…