Blog

Demystifying Business Development @ Touchstone

Business Development can seem like a slippery concept, with many people interpreting what it means in many different ways. Not only this, but it’s a term that refers to quite different things, depending on the context and sector in which it’s being used .At  Touchstone it refers to a wide ranging of activities, conversations and…

#MoreThanVisibility: Celebrating Trans Lives

International Trans Day of Visibility (TDOV) is an annual event occurring on March 31st each year. The day is dedicated to celebrating Trans people and raising awareness of discrimination faced by Trans people worldwide. Trans Day of Visibility is a time to focus on the positive elements of Trans people’s lives. Here are 8 things…

‘A Strong Social Conscience’ – Best in Class

Arfan Hanif, Quality and Performance Director, on the importance of social conscience in our work and outlook. You may already know that Touchstone came 8th overall (including a Special Award for ‘Developing Potential) in the 2017 ‘Best Companies – 100 Best Not-For-Profit organisations to work for’ list. An incredible achievement considering our humble beginnings 35…

The Art of Collaboration

Touchstone Operations Director Arfan Hanif reflects on the value of collaboration and how to do it well. Increasingly everything we do at Touchstone is done in collaboration, whether between colleagues in the same office or with those who work for a number of our diverse partner organisations. If I did a quick count I could…

I am me

I AM ME My colour is brown It tells the world I am Asian But I am me. My Love is same sex It tells the world I am gay But I am me My age is 47 Tells the world I am middle aged But I am me My religion is Islam Tells the…

Positive Care Programme – making a difference

The Positive Care Programme first ran in 2004 – providing support and learning for people with long term health conditions. The Programme introduces people to activities and therapies that can become part of their daily toolkit for living life and managing their condition. Since the programme is aimed specifically at people who would not normally…

A Journey in Coproduction (Part 1)

Working Together for Equality Resource Pack

Touchstone Business Development Team A Journey in Coproduction (Part 1) A few weeks ago I attended ‘News For You’ – Touchstone’s Service User Forum. A room filled with around 20 service users, each an expert in their own right, it was wonderful, and a privilege to see how the group runs. They rotate the chair/minute…

Nicola Adams – boxing champion

As part of LGBT History Month, Touchstone is profiling a famous LGBT person a week on our website . This week, we are celebrating the boxer, Leeds loiner and bisexual woman, Nicola Adams.   Nicola Adams, MBE (born 26 October 1982) is a British boxer and the first woman to win an Olympic boxing title….

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…

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…

‘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…

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…

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…

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…

Shafa annual review

A Touchstone Service for the Rehabilitation of South Asian Offenders working together with the National Probation Service and the Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC). What is Shafa? Shafa is a newly formed Touchstone project working across the whole of West Yorkshire. Shafa means renewal, restoration and healing in Urdu. Touchstone’s approach is to work with people who have offended from the South Asian community based on…

Sikh Elders Service annual review

This has been another successful year for the Sikh Elders Service with growing numbers of elders joining in regular activities and trips. The service continues to advocate on behalf of elders via one-to-one support in accessing statutory services to enable them to live independently. Despite the challenging financial environment we are always actively looking for new growth opportunities to make the service sustainable. Our membership has…

Shafa case studies

National probation case I was charged by the Parole Board to make enquiries of my client’s wife. My client is a Lifer – following a domestic murder of a female partner. Ijaz (Shafa staff member) had a good understanding of the family, and of my task, in relation to the information sought by the Parole Board, who will ultimately make a decision…