Depression Recovery course at Leeds Grand Mosque

Depression is much more common than we often think; sometimes we do not even recognize what it is… Depression is debilitating and it can hit anyone of us: male or female, young or old, regardless of our social circumstances. The important thing to realize is that there is hope and things will get better –…

Everyone Has Great Ideas! Report from the Leeds Co-production Conference

On 6th July 2017, Touchstone hosted Leeds’ second coproduction conference.  This time to coincide with national coproduction week. The aims of the conference were 3 fold: To shine a light on the existing examples of coproduction in the region To introduce more people to the “I Statements” and their place in mental health commissioning in Leeds To…

Annual Information Report: Who did Touchstone support in 2016/17?

On 31 March 2017 there were over 1500 active service users accessing Touchstone services. This suggests that on any given day we have around 1500 live service users across Touchstone. Half of Touchstone’s live service users come from BME backgrounds. All Touchstone services have a BME service user profile above the 2011 Census baseline. The…

WHO KNOWS BEST? WE DO!

The ‘We’ is our service users and they always know what is best. This has been reinforced by what our service users think and say about Touchstone in this years annual service user survey results. The key headlines are: Overall 95% of service user respondents indicated that Touchstone is an excellent to good organisation. Quality…

Leadership Masterclass: Steph Calvert

Steph Calvert will be speaking at the Touchstone Leadership Masterclass on Wednesday 26th July 12noon to 2pm at Hillside, Beeston Road, Leeds, LS11 8ND Steph was born in 1958, and only realised she was officially a boy on seeing her first brother in the bath when she was two. Decades of confusion and distress followed, along…

Free Hugs Day

The first Saturday of July is International Free Hugs Day. Maybe you’ve seen someone in your town centre holding up a hand-made sign that says “Free Hugs” – and delivering on that promise by hugging anyone that approaches them. Quite possibly you’ve already seen themusic video below, that shows the advent of this Free Hugs…

Leeds Leads: Encouraging Happy Young Minds

Hosted by local charity, Leeds Community Foundation (LCF), the Leeds Leads: Encouraging Happy Young Minds event will welcome special guest HRH Prince Henry of Wales on Thursday 6th July 2017 in Leeds. Leeds Leads: Encouraging Happy Young Minds is a beacon event addressing the mental wellbeing of the city’s young people. The event will bring…

Setting the Standard for Coproduction #coproweek

At Touchstone we strive to model all that is great about coproduction.  In 2016, we delivered Leeds’ first ever coproduction conference which included contributions from all sectors and – of course – experts by experience as a given. We also wrote a blog about the conference for SCIE, which can be found here: http://coproductionweek.blogspot.co.uk/2016/06/coproduction-conference.html On…

“The future looks much brighter” – a Peer-Led Brokerage Service client’s story – #MHAW17

The following is a testimony from an individual using Touchstone’s Peer Led Brokerage Service. This person has a diagnosis of Schizoaffective disorder, anxiety and suspicious personality which has resulted in being sectioned and detained numerous occasions for long periods of time since 2000. The state of her accommodation was highlighted as one of her Psychosocial…

Wellbeing and Befriending scheme

Steph Lewis from the Community Development Service explains how and why a Winter Wellbeing project has turned into a service that’s offered all year round. In January 2017 ELHFA and CDS services jointly started the Winter Wellbeing Project which was based on the very successful Winter Wellbeing Café run during the winter of 2016. The…

Leeds Commitment to Carers

Unpaid carers are crucial both to our communities and to the sustainability of health and care in the city. If Leeds is to be the best city in the UK for health and wellbeing then it has to be the best for carers. The Leeds Commitment to Carers has been co-produced by members of the Leeds Carers Partnership, which includes a significant contribution…

WY-FI Peer Mentor Training – begins August 2017

What do I need to become a WY-FI Peer Mentor? To become a WY-FI Peer Mentor you must have: previous experience of volunteering or peer mentoring (supporting people) lived experience of at least two of the following: homelessness addiction to drugs, substances and/or alcohol re-offending behaviour mental ill health How do I become a WY-FI…

Shaid Mahmood – Organised Religion, BME Communities and Sexuality

Shaid Mahmood is the Chief Officer for Communities and the Chief Officer lead for the Council’s Stronger Communities Breakthrough Programme. He is leading on the development of the ten community committees, working with local elected members, involving people in local decision-making and in the shaping and improvement of their neighbourhoods; integrating council and partner services…

Anxious – a poem by Surrinder Singh

Anxiously waiting, preparing in your mind, for someone to offer a word that is kind. Battle, in your mind, rages and you begin to close its doors, your sweat begins to build and starts running from the pores. You want that moment when you can take a step, without spending hours in a state of…

A volunteer’s story

What was your situation and background before you became involved with volunteering? I was working as the Exams Officer at a high school in Leeds when I became poorly during 2013. My condition deteriorated and I was admitted to hospital and finally diagnosed in December 2013 with Neuro-sarcoidosis. Sarcoidosis is a rare anti-immune disease which…

After the NHS – a CHS?

The election is finally behind us. The Labour Party had most of the eye-catching policies – and community businesses could provide the next big idea, writes our guest blogger Bill Graham from New Wortley. (This blog was originally published on the Power to Change website). One of the ideas was to turn the education system into…

Being a Dementia Champion – #DementiaAwarenessWeek

Geraldine, from Touchstone’s IAPT team, talks about the role of a Dementia Champion. My name is Geraldine and I am one of the Dementia Champions with Touchstone. I work in the Touchstone IAPT service where we meet people with common problems with mood and mental health such as anxiety and depression and offer a range…

Dementia journey with my mother – #DementiaAwarenessWeek

Stephanie Lewis from Touchstone’s Community Development Service talks about how her mother’s dementia impacted on the whole family. I first became aware of Dementia when I studied for counselling back in 2000-2008 however, my first personal experience of this was when my mother was diagnosed in 2005. My father passed away in 1998 and they…

Why leaders have difficult conversations all the time

A guest blog from Bill Graham of New Wortley Community Centre – originally published on Power to Change. “Discussions must be in-depth, inclusive and sometimes difficult to make things improve.” Bill Graham New Wortley Community Centre We have all sat in meetings where we think just by having the right people round the table a…

Afternoon tea – supporting a neighbour #DementiaAwarenessWeek

Juana Kwok from Touchstone Support Centre talks about being there for a neighbour who’s husband is developing dementia. “I’ve seen you around the garden trimming your beautiful flowers.” “I tried not to disturb you.” “Ooh, please do.” “How are you?” “Yes, I am fine, thank you.” “How’s Joe…” “He’s not so good, he’s getting worse,…

Dementia journey with my relative – Dementia Awareness Week #DementiaAwarenessWeek

Continuing a series of personal reflections on the impact of dementia, Sikh Elders Service manager Chernjit Batebajwe talks about supporting a relative living with dementia.  I would like to celebrate this week with sharing my experiences with dementia. I supported my relative the age of 86 living on her own every Monday of the week….

My dad’s diagnosis – Dementia Awareness Week #DementiaAwarenessWeek

My dad was diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2007 following a stroke when he had a fall at home.  This fall was preventable as dad had just had a knee replacement so his house should have been assessed by social care and then he might have had a handrail fitted on the stairs but information…

Dementia Information Event – 18th May

As part of Dementia Awareness Week, Touchstone (in partnership wit the Reginald Centre and Feel Good Factor) is organising a dementia information event for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities on Thursday 18th May. We’ll be at the Reginald Centre on Chapeltown Road in Leeds from 9:30am to 1pm. Join us at this free information…

Thanks to Brudenell Groove

Working Together for Equality Resource Pack

Last Friday Brudenell Groove – the not-for-profit dance party held an event at HiFi raising money for Touchstone and Yorkshire MESMAC. We’d like to say a huge thank to you Brudenell Groove, for supporting us and for challenging discrimination and for creating safer party spaces. To find out more about Brudenell Groove head over to…

Thanks from a Housing Service client – #MHAW17

First of all, let me say a big thank you to Touchstone for a job well done. I have been a restless women for the past years, and moving into your property was the best thing to me, and ever since I have been in this property, I was at peace all through out. I…

Introducing Better in Kirklees new Peer Champion – #MHAW17

“Meeting up with you was the first thing I did to get out and about…” “In the past, other groups made me feel like I was a patient. You made me feel like I was worthy of doing something!” A bit of background… Patricia is a former secondary school teacher and head of year. She has a massive range of skills and experience after teaching Art…

Feedback from CST clients – #MHAW17

When we asked people who use the Community Support Team (CST) service how they felt about the support they’d received, here are some of their responses “Very happy about it. It’s given me back a life. It has helped to understand myself. If it wasn’t for Touchstone I think I would have gone back, its given…