Diversity

Listen and Learn – Business Development

As an organisation Touchstone champions the values of inclusion and diversity, co-production, and quality and continuous improvement. As a team, the Business Development team are always looking for ways to discover and support the ideas of all the people we work with, and build relationships and partnerships that lead to better services for communities across…

Bi Visibility Day 2017

Bi Visibility Day started was first marked in 1999 and is now celebrated yearly on 23 September. It is a chance for the bi+ community and allies to come together and celebrate as well as helping to raise awareness and correct misconceptions. Bi+ people are often under-represented in the media and when discussing LGBT+ issues;…

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…

Leadership Masterclass for LGBT History Month

To celebrate LGBT History Month, Touchstone will be holding a special Leadership Masterclass on Tuesday 28th February with a panel of LGBT BME speakers. 28th February: 12 noon – 2 pm (lunch included) Hillside, Beeston Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS11 8ND   Guest speaker panel Khakan Qureshi (founder of Birmingham South Asians LGBT – Finding A Voice)…

‘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…

Touchstone Leadership Masterclass 2017 Session One – Sufyan Gulam Ismail

Sufyan Gulam Ismail is an award-winning Serial Entrepreneur and Philanthropist and was recently ranked amongst the 500 most influential Muslims in the World. He graduated from the University of Manchester and then started his career training with Deloitte. Sufyan has built numerous businesses over the years specialising in financial services, private equity and real estate.  His businesses have won numerous awards including ‘UK’s fastest growing company’, NW entrepreneur…

Touchstone featured in Stonewall’s LGBT careers guide

Touchstone is more than proud to be featured in “Starting Out” a career guide published by Stonewall for LGBT+ job seekers and graduates. For many people entering the job market, it’s hard to know how open to be about their sexual orientation. However, research from Stonewall shows that workers who are comfortable to be out at work also…

Choosing to be a positive role model – an article by Stonewall’s Josh Willacy

Josh Willacy is an Account Manager at Stonewall, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans equality charity. He manages the housing sector and looks after the Yorkshire and Humber region, advising organisations on policy-making decisions and helping them to ensure their workplaces are as inclusive for LGBT staff as possible. Growing up mixed race and gay…

West Yorkshire Hate Crime Reporting App #NHCAW

Earlier this year, Stop Hate UK launched a new hate crimereporting app for West Yorkshire. The app can be used on Android or Apple phones and tablets and helps witnesses and those targeted because of their identity, throughout West Yorkshire, to report incidents of hate crime. Users can also access information and advice about local Hate…

Touchstone is number 1 inclusive employer

Touchstone is delighted to announce that it has been placed top of The Inclusive Top 50 UK Employers List – recognising the hard work that the team continually do to attract and retain a diverse workforce. The Inclusive Top 50 UK Employers was published on 1st September 2016, showcasing organisations that promote inclusion across all protected…

Staff Equality and Diversity at Touchstone

Touchstone supports people from a wide range of backgrounds and we aim to reflect the same diversity among our staff. To check how we’re doing, each year we ask staff to complete a brief survey. The results of our 2016 survey are summarised below. 14% of staff have a disability, compared to 13% the previous…

The Mental Health Support Experiences in Leeds of Black Women and Roma Men, Born Outside of the UK

Touchstone’s vision is to inspire communities and to transform lives. Over our 30 plus years of operating across West Yorkshire this aspiration has led us to focus on the hopes, experiences and outcomes of our most diverse communities, as experience shows that these communities are most often the most excluded, marginalised and overlooked. These reports will hopefully go…

Disability Awareness Day – Hidden Disabilities

July 10th is Disability Awareness Day, and so I would like to take this opportunity to discuss the disabilities which people may not be aware of or even recognise in the community. Hidden Disabilities can be defined as a physical or mental health condition that limits a person’s movements, senses or activities, yet may not…

Men’s Health Week: 13 to 19 June 2016 #MensHealthWeek #ShowUsYourBlue

We all get stressed. The question is: what do you do about it? It matters because if we don’t release stress, it can turn into something more serious. This year, one in four of us will develop a mental health problem. That is odds of 3 to 1; or about the same as France or…

Inclusive Leaders Recognised

ITV News presenter Charlene White took centre stage on 12th May to host the Excellence in Diversity Awards, celebrating inclusive employers and diversity champions. Companies and charities nationwide were honoured at the ceremony at The Queens Hotel in Leeds. Over a thousand nominations had been received showcasing incredible achievements in promoting equality. A panel of judges including…

#IDAHOBIT A long history of oppression and resistance

On International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, we look at the chequered history of the ongoing quest for equal rights and legal recognition.   1533 – During the reign of Henry VIII, all sexual intercourse between two men was made illegal, punishable by death. Between 1533 and 1558 the law was repealed and then…

The Excellence in Diversity Awards announce 2016 shortlist

Diversity Champions and Inclusive Employers shortlisted for Pioneering Diversity Awards Throughout the year, there are some individuals who work tirelessly to remove barriers and put diversity at the very heart of everything they do. This year, on May 12th, The Excellence in Diversity Awards will once again celebrate those who go above and beyond the…

Sylvia Rivera – pioneer of trans activism

To mark Trans Day of Visibility (31st March) we profile the life of a pioneering trans activist. Sylvia Rivera, who was of Puerto Rican and Venezuelan descent, was born in New York City and named Ray Rivera by her parents. She became an orphan at 3 years old and was then raised by her Venezuelan…

Happy Chinese New Year!

​ By Geraldine M ​Monday 8th February 2016 is the day many people will be saying ‟Gong xi fa cai” (pronounced, roughly, ‟gong she fars eye”) – the Chinese greeting for ‟Happy New Year” – meaning ‟Be happy, get rich”.   …to which the response is often ‟Hong bao na lai” (‟hong bow na lie”)…

Harvey Milk – vision, courage and passion

To celebrate LGBT History Month in February 2016, Touchstone will profile a significant figure from LGBT history each week. Harvey Bernard Milk was an American politician who became the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California, when he won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Milk began…

LGBT History Month – February 2016

LGBT History Month is celebrated in February in the UK, but the work to challenge homophobia, biphobia and transphobia continues throughout the year. The overall aim of LGBT History month is to promote equality and diversity for the benefit of the public. This is done by: Increasing the visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender…

Touchstone Leadership Masterclass 2016 – Session One

You are cordially invited to attend this very special event:- Iby Knill telling “My Story: The woman without a number” Come and hear about her experiences, successes, and challenges. When: Monday, 15th February 2016 Where: Tiger 11 Hillside, Beeston Road, LS11 8ND Time: 12 – 2pm. Lunch will be provided. RSVP: office@touchstonesupport.org.uk While growing up in Czechoslovakia during the 1920s and…

Stonewall Workplace Equality Index

Touchstone are delighted that we have once again made it into the top 100 of Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index – a recognition of our work to ensure that staff and job applicants find Touchstone to be a safe and supportive environment. Ruth Hunt, Chief Executive, Stonewall said: “Touchstone and all of those employers that secured a place in the…

Inclusive leadership, authenticity and a bit of a life lesson

It feels hard to put into words my experience last month of attending Stonewall’s Leadership programme. Without wishing to sound too grand, I think it has changed me in a very profound way; changed the way I see myself, my past and what my role is now. The programme is billed as “An intensive and…

International Day of Kindness

On Friday 13th November 2015 it was International Day of Kindness. One of our IAPT colleagues Sally P has written the following piece to highlight the widespread benefits of random acts of kindness: Although on those bad days it can feel like we live in a society where people are uncaring, there has been a…

World Statistic Day – Ethnicity Recording

In the Community Development Service here at Touchstone we aim to achieve a greater understanding and ownership of mental health issues facing Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities in Leeds. For World Statistics Day on 20th October, John Halsall, Community Health Development Analyst,  has written the first in a series of data blogs. Please take a few minutes…

Coming Out

“I’m going to talk to you tonight about coming out of the closet, and not in the traditional sense, not just the gay closet. I think we all have closets. Your closet may be telling someone you love her for the first time, or telling someone that you’re pregnant, or telling someone you have cancer,…