Blog

A volunteer’s story

What was your situation and background before you became involved with volunteering? I was working as the Exams Officer at a high school in Leeds when I became poorly during 2013. My condition deteriorated and I was admitted to hospital and finally diagnosed in December 2013 with Neuro-sarcoidosis. Sarcoidosis is a rare anti-immune disease which…

After the NHS – a CHS?

The election is finally behind us. The Labour Party had most of the eye-catching policies – and community businesses could provide the next big idea, writes our guest blogger Bill Graham from New Wortley. (This blog was originally published on the Power to Change website). One of the ideas was to turn the education system into…

Being a Dementia Champion – #DementiaAwarenessWeek

Geraldine, from Touchstone’s IAPT team, talks about the role of a Dementia Champion. My name is Geraldine and I am one of the Dementia Champions with Touchstone. I work in the Touchstone IAPT service where we meet people with common problems with mood and mental health such as anxiety and depression and offer a range…

Dementia journey with my mother – #DementiaAwarenessWeek

Stephanie Lewis from Touchstone’s Community Development Service talks about how her mother’s dementia impacted on the whole family. I first became aware of Dementia when I studied for counselling back in 2000-2008 however, my first personal experience of this was when my mother was diagnosed in 2005. My father passed away in 1998 and they…

Why leaders have difficult conversations all the time

A guest blog from Bill Graham of New Wortley Community Centre – originally published on Power to Change. “Discussions must be in-depth, inclusive and sometimes difficult to make things improve.” Bill Graham New Wortley Community Centre We have all sat in meetings where we think just by having the right people round the table a…

Afternoon tea – supporting a neighbour #DementiaAwarenessWeek

Juana Kwok from Touchstone Support Centre talks about being there for a neighbour who’s husband is developing dementia. “I’ve seen you around the garden trimming your beautiful flowers.” “I tried not to disturb you.” “Ooh, please do.” “How are you?” “Yes, I am fine, thank you.” “How’s Joe…” “He’s not so good, he’s getting worse,…

Dementia journey with my relative – Dementia Awareness Week #DementiaAwarenessWeek

Continuing a series of personal reflections on the impact of dementia, Sikh Elders Service manager Chernjit Batebajwe talks about supporting a relative living with dementia.  I would like to celebrate this week with sharing my experiences with dementia. I supported my relative the age of 86 living on her own every Monday of the week….

My dad’s diagnosis – Dementia Awareness Week #DementiaAwarenessWeek

My dad was diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2007 following a stroke when he had a fall at home.  This fall was preventable as dad had just had a knee replacement so his house should have been assessed by social care and then he might have had a handrail fitted on the stairs but information…

Thanks from a Housing Service client – #MHAW17

First of all, let me say a big thank you to Touchstone for a job well done. I have been a restless women for the past years, and moving into your property was the best thing to me, and ever since I have been in this property, I was at peace all through out. I…

Introducing Better in Kirklees new Peer Champion – #MHAW17

“Meeting up with you was the first thing I did to get out and about…” “In the past, other groups made me feel like I was a patient. You made me feel like I was worthy of doing something!” A bit of background… Patricia is a former secondary school teacher and head of year. She has a massive range of skills and experience after teaching Art…

Feedback from CST clients – #MHAW17

When we asked people who use the Community Support Team (CST) service how they felt about the support they’d received, here are some of their responses “Very happy about it. It’s given me back a life. It has helped to understand myself. If it wasn’t for Touchstone I think I would have gone back, its given…

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…