Blog

Blue Monday 21st Jan: How Blue Are You?

The 3rd Monday in January is said to be the most depressing day of the year due to the weather, financial pressures and debts accumulated over the holiday season and low motivation levels.   Blue Monday was first publicized by Sky Travel in 2005. You can find out more about how it was calculated and…

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….

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…

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…

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…

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…

Why Yorkshire? By Iby Knill

              For Yorkshire Day 2018, we interviewed Iby Knill on her experiences and reasons for moving to Yorkshire in the 1960’s. “It was 1962. I was employed as Welfare Training Officer by Berkshire County. Then, one day, somebody at County Headquarters thought that it might be an idea to…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…