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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…

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…

World Hunger Day

May 28th 2018 is World Hunger day – a day designed to promote awareness of the simple and tragic fact that 800 Million people in the world do not have enough food to eat. The statistics are shocking. Have a read, digest the numbers involved and share with friends and colleagues..… http://www.foodaidfoundation.org/world-hunger-statistics.html The 28th is…

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…

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…