Zumba dance in East Leeds

East Leeds Health for All will be hosting free Zumba classes each Thursday, beginning 16th February. Zumba is an aerobic fitness programme featuring movements inspired by various styles of Latin American dance, with some great music to keep you moving. Or in short, it’s a fun way to get fit. The classes take place at Leeds…

LGBT History Month – Chelsea Manning

Chelsea Elizabeth Manning is a Trans woman and a former United States Army soldier. Born Bradley Edward Manning on December 17 1987, Chelsea was convicted by court-martial on July 2013 of violations of the Espionage Act, after disclosing nearly three-quarters of a million classified or unclassified military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeak’s founder Julian Assange….

Better in Kirklees case study

Better in Kirklees is a social prescribing service that uses a holistic approach to support people to be active and involved in their community, keeping people happier, healthier and independent for longer. A bit of background… Lisa is a 68 year old woman from Huddersfield, and was referred to BiK by Fieldhead Surgery. Lisa is…

Touchstone wins Employee Engagement award

On Thursday 26th January, the 2016 UK Employee Engagement Awards in association with People Insight, announced its winners – the companies that put workforce engagement at the heart of their business strategy. And, of course, Touchstone was in there, scooping the award in the Inclusion and Diversity category. We were recognised for our allies programme “Pink…

LGBT History Month 2017

This year, LGBT History Month – celebrated in February every year – will look at Citizenship, PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education) and Law as it marks the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of male homosexuality in England and Wales. The overall aim of LGBT History month is to promote equality and diversity for…

Sharing your Equality Expertise Makes the World a Fairer Place

Here at Touchstone, we love to share our experience of inclusion and diversity to make the world a better place for all. As the number 1 ranked Top 50 Most Inclusive Employer in 2016, Touchstone can show it knows a thing or two about equality but we don’t want to hug that knowledge to ourselves…

Touchstone in Stonewall’s top 100 employers for 2017

Once again, Touchstone has been placed in the Stonewall top 100 employers – highlighting out commitment to maintaining diversity and challenging prejudice. The Stonewall Top 100 Employers are the best performing employers on Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index 2017, an annual audit of workplace culture for lesbian, gay, bi and trans staff The Workplace Equality Index…

Best Start Peer Support – New Service

Best Start Peer Support Touchstone is delighted to announce that we will be working with parents and carers in South and East Leeds over the next three years to deliver a brand new peer support service.  Working in partnership with voluntary sector organisation Women’s Health Matters(WHM) and Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust’s Early Start Service,…

East Leeds Health for All’s updated schedule for 2017

East Leeds Health for All will be continuing to offer a weekly programme of activities throughout 2017. Regular groups include: Monday Walking Group – Call Sarah on 0113 248 4880. Magic Mondays – arts, crafts, cooking, knitting, sewing, internet. Call Wendy or Maxine on 0113248 4880 or 0113 240 4196. Tuesday Plan 2 Change – support…

Weekly mental health drop-in in Leeds city centre

Mental Health Drop-in *EVERY FRIDAY FROM THE 6TH JAN 2017* Room 5 in the Leeds Civic Hall from 12.30pm until 2.30pm Struggling with your mental wellbeing, feeling isolated and alone? Come along to the Civic Hall, Fridays from 12.30pm until 2pm for a cuppa, chat and to meet others. We can support with: Mental health…

‘The dangers of not knowing and not doing’

In the run up to World Religion Day (15th January), Arfan Hanif (operations director) explains why Touchstone is introducing training on Islamophobia and Mental Health. As an organisation diversity and inclusiveness is in Touchstone’s DNA – we do what we do because it needs doing and we can’t rely on or expect others to do so. With…

Help us improve services for Sikhs that are terminally ill in our local area

In 2017 we look forward to building partnerships with local organisations ‘St Gemma’s Hospice’ and ‘Leeds involving people’. Together we are hoping to under-stand why elderly Sikhs aren’t accessing their services. We hope to involve you and your families to take part in some research so that local services can be tailored to benefit your needs….

Sikh Elders Service – projects for 2017

Cha Da Cup will continue on Monday 9th January from 10.00am-12.30pm to support and provide enriched experiences to over 70’s, and the socially isolated and lonely, over 55’s. We will continue to work with partnerships and volunteer drivers to offer transport to those who are not able to access this group. This group remains free…

Touchstone Leadership Masterclass 2017 Session One – Sufyan Gulam Ismail

Sufyan Gulam Ismail is an award-winning Serial Entrepreneur and Philanthropist and was recently ranked amongst the 500 most influential Muslims in the World. He graduated from the University of Manchester and then started his career training with Deloitte. Sufyan has built numerous businesses over the years specialising in financial services, private equity and real estate.  His businesses have won numerous awards including ‘UK’s fastest growing company’, NW entrepreneur…

Mental Health within BAME and LGBT communities

To celebrate LGBT History Month, but also to acknowledge the impact of bullying and discrimination on people from LGBT communities, Touchstone chief executive Alison Lowe has written a blog on this issue. This article also appears in 2017’s LGBT History Month magazine. Mental health amongst minority communities is a political as well as an ethical…

Touchstone recognised as top employer

It is with great excitement that we’re letting you know that Touchstone has, for the 5th year running, been named as one of The Sunday Times 100 Best Not for Profit Organisations to Work For 2017, moving up from a 2 star to 3 star rating. This recognises our commitment to supporting staff through training, supervisions,…

Winter Solistice has arrived…but what does it mean?!

Wednesday 21st December marks the Winter Solstice. However, not many of us are aware of what this means and it’s significance. To enlighten us Touchstone IAPT CBT therapist Paul P has written this wonderfully witty piece to bring attention to this time of reflection. Enjoy and happy solstice one and all.  Winter Solstice. Aren’t they…

Winter Wellbeing Cafe – opens 16th December 2016

Beat the winter blues and improve your mood come join us for some home made food We’ll play some games and have some fun, make lots of new friends or just one. The snow might fall, but you’ll be warm inside, you’ll get support – in us you can confide. We’ll listen to anything you bring…

Peer Mentor Training

WY-FI runs regular Peer Mentor Training, to encourage people to pass on the benefit of their experience to others who may be struggling with similar circumstances. Using their own knowledge and lived experience of local services and recovery options, WY-FI Peer Mentors support and build up mentoring relationships. Because they’ve been through similar situations to…

Social Prescribing in Leeds – annual review

Touchstone works in partnership with Leeds Mind, Hamara, Barca-Leeds, Better Leeds Communities and Leeds Irish Health and Homes to deliver Social Prescribing Services in East, South and West Leeds. The Patient Empowerment Project (PEP) is commissioned by the Leeds West Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and the Connect for Health service by the Leeds South and East CCG. Social Prescribing services offer the following benefits: Improve…

East Leeds Health For All case studies

After contacting a service user whom we had not seen for a couple of weeks, we were informed that they had had no heating or hot water for three months (the weather was very cold at the time). The service user was in bed trying to stay warm and had given up. We encouraged the service user to visit the Winter Wellbeing Café; they…

Better in Kirklees case study

Mrs M is 72 years old and lives in the Cleckheaton area of Kirklees. She recently lost her husband to a long term illness and was a carer for him, in addition to caring for her mother and a friend, both of whom passed away in the space of two years. Before going through bereavement and a difficult time, Mrs M had…

BME Dementia Service annual review

The BME Dementia Service has had another busy and successful year which has included a number of diverse pieces of work, including: delivering one-to-one case management; facilitating the Dementia Café; awareness raising sessions; developing the work of Dementia Champions; raising awareness in Touchstone and working in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Society in Calderdale. The key highlights for the year were: Delivered 17 awareness talks to 260 people…

Positive Care Programme annual review

We have been going from strength to strength: making real changes in people’s lives where they are not only getting a chance to meet new friends and reduce their feelings of being alone, but also to learn new skills for dealing with their health better and receiving a range of one-to-one treatments. Many of our referrals state they have tried all the options available and…

Volunteers Project annual review

It is important to really get to know your volunteers. This means taking time to understand what they find satisfying about volunteering and any concerns they may have about the role or the organisation. Volunteers do get bored; they have other things going on in their lives. Volunteers Project has managed to sustain volunteers for more than one year. We support our volunteers by seeking…

Robi – Housing Service case study

This is my story. I came to know about Touchstone Housing through a friend. My tenancy in the place where I was living was ending and this caused me a lot of stress and sleepless nights. Then this friend of mine introduced me to Touchstone and she gave me their number. I rang them and they just took me in, this was like…

Better in Kirklees annual review

Better in Kirklees (BiK) social prescribing service uses an holistic approach to support people to be active and involved in their community, keeping people happier, healthier and independent for longer. We started taking referrals in April 2016 and by July we had 98 people! We connect the people we work with to a wide range of community activities, support and networks such as arts…

Peter’s Story – Touchstone’s longest standing service user

As Touchstone’s longest standing service user, Peter (who turns 79 this year) agreed to speak to me about his background and how he first came to access our services in Leeds. Following a minor offence as a teenager, Peter found himself having to spend three years at an approved school in Todmorden. Life here was tough, and it was during his third year at…

International Volunteer Day

  By Debbie R – CBT therapist It’s International Volunteer Day on 5 December. International Volunteer Day was designated by the United Nations in 1985 as an international observance day to celebrate the power and potential of volunteering. The act of volunteering is found in all cultures, languages, and religions. Each year, hundreds of millions…

Self Directed Support annual review

SDS provides individuals with person-centred one-to-one specialist mental health support. Support is tailored, flexible and recovery focused. Support is delivered by experienced Mental Health Support Workers; we aim to deliver a culturally sensitive service which meets the needs of the communities in Leeds. We currently have a staff team of 12, working across the city, 7 days per week. We recently introduced a volunteer to…