Ben Deutsch

Courses in Gipton and Beeston 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…

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…

Migrant Stories Inspire Student Performances at Iconic Abbey

A group of Leeds migrants met with theatrical students from the city to enjoy a unique musical treat in one of Yorkshire’s iconic settings. Volunteers who are working with Touchstone’s Migrant Access Project Plus (MAP+) teamed up with students from the Level 3 Musical Theatre course at Leeds City College for a picnic and performance…

Touchstone has been shortlisted for the UK’s Largest Diversity Awards

Touchstone has been shortlisted for the Diverse Company category at the National Diversity Awards 2018. Over 20,000 people submitted nominations for the awards this year. Amongst those being honoured are freedom fighters, domestic violence campaigners and trans rights activists, all of whom work tirelessly to combat injustice and discrimination in very different ways. Designed to highlight…

Safeguarding and Coproduction – #SafeguardingWeek

Jim Leyland (Touchstone’s Operations Director – Inclusion) talks about the work Touchstone does to ensure adequate safeguarding for our clients and their communities. I am really excited in Safeguarding Week to share the work we have been doing at Touchstone with Leeds Safeguarding Adults Board. We were asked to contribute a service user voice to the…

Best Start Peer Support Programme – our progress so far

The Best Start Peer Support Programme aims to empower individuals and families about the relationships they have at home and with professionals, in order that they make healthier informed choices about their lives and therefore become better carers and parents producing healthy children, in line with the Best Start plan for the city. In year…

The Great Get Together in Holbeck

“We have more in common than that which divides us” Monday 25th June, 1 – 2:30pm St. Matthew’s Church, Holbeck Touchstone’s MAP+ (Migrant Access Project Plus) and Holbeck Elderly Aid in partnership Join us for the biggest international foodie fuddle in Holbeck! Come and meet your neighbours and bring a plate of something to share Raffle prizes to…

How are we doing? Annual Service Information Report 2017/18

On 31 March 2018 there were 1244 active service users accessing Touchstone services.  This suggests that on any given day we have well over 1000 active service users across Touchstone services. 59% of Touchstone’s active service users come from BME backgrounds. All Touchstone services have a BME service user profile above the 2011 Census baseline. …

Coping with Social Isolation and Crisis throughout the summer

THE WELL-BEAN CRISIS CAFÉ – HOPE IN A CRISIS BLOG – June 2018 (Written by Matthew Hall – Crisis Support Worker at WBC) Since the last blog was released – we are pleased to announce that funding for the Well-Bean Café has been secured, and the service has now been extended until the end of…

Events for Refugee Week in Leeds #RefugeeWeek

Sunday 17 June – Syrian Community of Leeds and Damasq 2.30pm to 8.30pm – Ebor Gardens Community Centre, 79 Haslewood Drive, Leeds, LS9 7PS This event is to bring all together to celebrate through food and sports! There will be a free Syrian Bakery and a sports competition for children. All are welcome. Contact: Fawaz Alghofari…

Support for carers who fast #CarersWeek

With Carer’s Week falling during the month of Ramadhan, Shuria Alam (Carers Support Worker) talks about the impact of fasting and the need for culturally sensitive support for carers. Ramadhan is the ninth month of the Islamic Lunar calendar, and this year will begin around 17th May and end around 16th June 2018. For 29/30…

Healthy Eating

For BNF Healthy Eating Week, Touchstone trustee Julie Laxton offers some guidance on how to look after ourselves by choosing what we eat. Healthy eating sounds really boring, but it will help you to keep well and feel better. It can prevent some diseases in the future for example, heart disease and diabetes. What is…

Events for Carers Week from Carers Leeds #CarersWeek

Carers Week begins on Monday 11th June. Our partners at Carers Leeds have compiled the following list of events for the week. Some of these events require advance booking. If in doubt, please call Carers Leeds on 0113 246 8338. Touchstone will also be running events for members of our staff who have caring responsibilities outside of…

Best Start Peer Volunteer Story #VolunteersWeek

I didn’t really know what to make of Best Start Peer Support when I first heard about it. It intrigued me, but I wasn’t sure it was my thing. A friend of mine had done it and told me I would enjoy it, so I decided to take myself out of my comfort zone and…

Volunteering with MAP+ #VolunteersWeek

The Migrant Access Project (MAP+) helps new arrivals in Leeds to connect with the local community, including finding volunteering opportunities. One of our MAP+ volunteers have shared some of her experience and feedback with us: “I suffered a really bad injury at work and had to reduce my hours, which meant I started getting into…

Highlighting Health inequalities in New Wortley

Bill Graham from New Wortley Community Association has looked into health inequalities for those in the New Wortley neighbourhood of Leeds. The charts below show some of what he found out. This indicator shows the proportion of households where no people in the household have English as a main language. This information was created from…

Volunteering with the Liaison and Diversion service #VolunteersWeek

Volunteers play an important role in supporting the Liaison and Diversion service, both in the community and in the custody suite. Volunteers provide variety to our service and, in return, experience with us enables them to get closer to their goals. One of our volunteers joined us as his goal was to change career and…

Be a buddy for a new Leeds resident #VolunteersWeek

Most people have had experience of feeling new, not knowing where things are or how to get help. Well, here is your opportunity to be a buddy to somebody that is new to the city – to show them things like: where the train and bus stations are visiting museums together exploring different areas of…

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…

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…

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…