Blog

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

LGBT History Month profile – Lewis Hancox

To mark LGBT History Month 2018, Touchstone is profiling different LGBT role models during the month of February.  This week we are proud to tell you about a fantastic film maker and comedian – Lewis Hancox who has featured in Stonewall’s Come Out For Trans Equality campaign. Here are Lewis’s own words, reproduced from Stonewall’s…

Random Acts of Kindness Day Saturday 17th February

The first time I heard about Random Acts of Kindness Day was about 15 years ago. I remember thinking  ‘this is so cool, it’s nice to have an excuse to be kind to a stranger’. Now, I know, some of you don’t need an excuse. You may already exude naturally excessive levels of kindness that…

Connect for Health – finding your prescription for support

Connect for Health Leeds is a social prescribing service delivered by Leeds Mind, in partnership with Touchstone, Hamara, Barca-Leeds, Leeds Irish Health and Homes and Better Leeds Communities. Connect for Health assesses each individual’s needs and takes into account the challenges you are facing, before supporting you to access a personalised selection of local groups…

LGBT History Month – bi role models

Drew Barrymore Drew Barrymore (born February 22, 1975) is an actress, producer, writer, and director. As a child actress, she became well-known for her performance in E.T.. Since then she starred in many films and, along with Nancy Juvonen, has started her own production company, Flower Films. In 2003 in and interview with Contact Music…

LGBT History Month Profile – HARVEY MILK

To celebrate LGBT History Month in February 2018, Touchstone will profile an LGBT person each week. We are choosing to profile Harvey Milk once again as 2018 is the 40th anniversary of his murder and his remarkable life is being commemorated this year by the LGBT History Month organisers http://lgbthistorymonth.org.uk/ Harvey Bernard Milk was an…