14th June is World Blood Donor Day

It’s like paying tax on having good health… … and paying tax isn’t always comfortable, but neither is having very poor health or being at risk of dying! I’ve been giving blood for a few years now and I’m about to give my eighth donation. As someone who was born in the NHS, had my…

Making Mental Health Sustainable – Mindful Employer Leeds Conference 2018

This year’s Mindful Employer conference will give employers advice and guidance on how to embed positive mental health into the workplace and create sustainable employee wellbeing. Be part of challenging perceptions about mental health within your organisation, look at the different ways you can start your journey and develop good practice further. This event has…

Seeking refuge from an oppressive anti-gay regime

Touchstone staff and volunteers recently had the opportunity to hear the story of a gay asylum seeker from Uganda. To protect her identity, we have not included her name or photograph here. At the time that she was growing up in Uganda, people simply did not talk about being gay, because it could cost your…

Mental health: BME communities go unheard and ignored

People from West Yorkshire’s BME communities with mental health concerns feel ignored and struggle to find a voice, according to charity Touchstone. The mental health charity recently ran two consultation events with BME service users as part of a national independent review of the Mental Health Act.  Feedback from participants at the events in Leeds…

May 17th – International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia, Biphobia

The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia is observed on May 17th and aims to coordinate international events that raise awareness of LGBT rights violations and stimulate interest in LGBT rights work worldwide. Commemorations have taken place in over 120 countries, in all world regions. Despite some legal and social advances in the past…

Mental Health Awareness Week – the stress bucket

Vanysha and Adriana from the Mentally Healthy Leeds team use the stress bucket model as a visual aid, to show how we each have limited capacity for everyday stress factors, and that capacity may be different, depending on our life circumstances. This year, Mental Health Awareness Week (14th-20th May) is focussed on the theme of…

World Asthma Day

Nazia from Better in Kirklees talks about living and working with asthma. Organised by the Global Initiative for Asthma, May 1st marks World Asthma Day 2018. It is a day committed to improve asthma awareness and care around the world, with this year marking its 20th anniversary. According to the World Health Organisation, 300 million people suffer from…

M.E. Week

Trying to find clear information on M.E. (myalgic encephalomyelitis) can be pretty tricky. There are many different opinions about what it is, who has it, what causes it and how (or if) it can be treated. It is also often referred to as CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome), though not everyone agrees that the two terms…

New Bradford service to help reduce risk of re-offending

A service aimed at reducing reoffending among vulnerable people is being introduced in Bradford this month. The Liaison and Diversion (L&D) Service identifies, assesses and refers people with mental health, learning disability, substance misuse and social vulnerabilities when they first come into contact with the youth and adult criminal justice systems. Funded by NHS England…

Does Dance Matter?

International Dance Day falls on the 29th March each year. Each year prominent figures from the world of dance are asked to talk about why dance matters on a global and social level. Here are some of this year’s messages. Salia Sanou from Burkina Faso says: “…whether we like it or not, whether we recognize…

‘The Meaning of Food’ – Poem by Cha Da Cup & Ian Duhig

Touchstone, Pavilion and Ian Duhig are pleased to share their new poem ‘The Meaning of Food’. This poem was co-written by Ian Duhig and Touchstone’s Cha DaCup group, who have now ‘crossed the threshold’ to become published authors, as their poem has been featured in the recently released in ‘The Cookbook Project Sewerby Hall and…

Touchstone nominated for the UK’s largest diversity award

Touchstone a local well-being charity in Yorkshire has been nominated for the Diverse Company of the Year category at The National Diversity Awards 2018. The Liverpool Anglican Cathedral will play host to this year’s awards, to be held on 14th September, recognising individuals and groups from grassroots communities. The event recognises nominees in their respective…

Maybe I’m autistic – World Autism Awareness Day

On World Autism Awareness Day (2nd April), Touchstone’s communication officer Ben Deutsch reflects on what autism is, how it can impact on working life and why some people might not seek a diagnosis. I consider myself autistic, but I don’t have a diagnosis for autism and I rarely use the word “autistic” in my life…

Love a Muslim Day

Touchstone IAPT would like to share some words of support and love on Love a Muslim Day.   I place immense value on the contribution of the Muslim community to Leeds and indeed to the whole country. At work I value and respect the immense contributions made by colleagues across the whole range of Touchstone…

Interwoven Histories – Touchstone’s Service Users Share Their Life Stories at Leeds Industrial Museum

Touchstone’s BME Dementia Service has been working closely with art organisation Pavilion and sound artist Ryoko Akama to gather oral history recordings of the life stories and experiences of older people who were first generation migrant workers in textile factories in Leeds. These recordings are currently being showcased as part of Ryoko Akama’s Loiner Or exhibition…

Trans Day of Visibility 2018

International Trans Day of Visibility falls on 31st March every year. The aim is to bring attention to the accomplishments of trans people around the globe and to counter prejudice by spreading knowledge of the trans community. This year’s theme is “surviving, thriving” (#TransThriving). Below, Touchstone volunteer Rachel talks about her experience and work. Originally from York,…

20th March: International Day of Happiness

Happiness is waking up warm and not having to get up. Happiness is spending time with friends, not worrying about things, going on holiday, being creative, doing nice things for other people, being happy and content with ourselves. Happiness is being yourself. Happiness is the journey not the destination. Happiness is knowing I contribute. Happiness…

Touchstone meets the Investors in People Platinum standard

At Touchstone, a Yorkshire based mental health and wellbeing charity that works in partnership with many other organisations, our first priority is always the results that we achieve with and for our service users. But to do that, we need to support our diverse and talented staff to reach their potential. Recently that support has…

Interwoven Histories – Cha Da Cup group to publish poem with poet Ian Duhig

As part of part of Touchstone’s BME Dementia Service’s on-going partnership with Pavilion, poet Ian Duhig hosted two workshops with the Cha Da Cup group who regularly attend Touchstone on Mondays to exercise, share food, meet with friends and get involved in lots of different activities. The workshops have been a fantastic celebration of food, culture and…

International Women’s Day 8th March

I imagine that Touchstone is full of people like me who see some litter that needs picking up or something else that concerns them and they can’t quite walk past and ignore it. Over a long period I have been aware of protests happening outside clinics where women can access abortions but for some reason…

I-ART Exhibition New Artist

Our Spring artist will be SIMON LEWIS. See a picture of him at work on our walls in the IAPT training room. He lives in Leeds, not far from the support centre, working as an illustrator and printmaker. The range of his work varies from detailed black and white ink drawings, drawings combined with digital media, screenprints, drypoint etching and other…

Fair Trade Fortnight

“Even a bad cup of coffee is better than no coffee at all” It is fair trade fortnight for a few more days and, in the Touchstone IAPT team in the Fairtrade City of Leeds, we have been inviting visitors to our offices to share a cup of freshly brewed fair trade coffee. I am a daily black coffee…

It’s Not World Book Day!

I grew up in a house full of books and for a good few years I used to volunteer for a bookshop run by Oxfam in Headingley and now I spend some time most weeks in libraries in Leeds. I am fully of the belief that no form of storytelling is better than reading a…

LGBT History Month – Vicky Beeching

    Victoria Louise “Vicky” Beeching (born 17 July 1979) is an English musician and religious commentator. She is best known for her work in the American contemporary worship music genre, and has been described as “arguably the most influential Christian of her generation” due to of her Twitter following and appearances on BBC’s Thought…

Touchstone stays in top 10 best not-for-profit companies to work for

Once again, Touchstone has been listed in the Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For. We’ve been placed 9th in the 100 Best Not-for-Profit Companies, our second year in the top 10, and our 6th in the top 100. The results are based on a confidential survey of staff, giving them the opportunity to feedback…

Air pollution in Leeds – public consultation

Leeds City Council is looking for people living, working and commuting in Leeds and the wider region to have their say on our proposals to reduce air pollution and protect the health of people in the city. It’s important that they receive responses from people in a wide range of communities. This public consultation is…

World Thinking Day 22nd February

When I first saw that 22nd February is World Thinking Day, as a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist my ideas immediately turned to thinking styles, challenging unhelpful thoughts and… well, all things CBT. However, I am not going to write about those things here because World Thinking Day is not about any of that!  It is in…

Co-Production, Not Faux Production

We are at the next exciting stage of developing a Co-Production standard for Leeds! This one day workshop will put together the Co-Production standard, which will be launched at our third Co-Production conference on 5th July. The workshop will include: Co-design and develop co-production quality standards Share your expertise and experiences Establish a Co-Production Network…