Equality and Diversity

Touchstone has been ranked number 1 in The Inclusive Top 50 UK Employers List

The long awaited Inclusive Top 50 UK Employers showcases leading organisations working across all strands of diversity. In recognition of their continued dedication to workplace diversity, Touchstone has once again been ranked first in The Inclusive Top 50 UK Employers List – which lists UK based organisations that promote inclusion across all protected characteristics, throughout each…

Islamophobia Awareness Month. Stand up together – it makes us strong!

ISLAMOPHOBIA A MYTH ? The sad reality of the matter is that is REAL, the need to spread awareness and stand united to dispel and dismantle biases is our collective responsibility. What is ISLAMOPHOBIA & HATE CRIME ? The UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance, defined Islamophobia…

Time To Change Leeds Champions Fund

The Champions Fund is here! Lets change the way Leeds thinks about mental health. What is the Champions Fund? The fund is available for people with lived experience of mental health problems to run their own anti-stigma activities. What types of activities could I run? You can run any sort of anti-stigma activity, as long it…

Bayard Rustin activist #BlackHistoryMonth

Bayard Rustin was an American leader in social movements for civil rights, socialism, pacifism and non-violence, and gay rights. He was born and raised in Pennsylvania where his family was involved in civil rights work. In 1936, he moved to Harlem, New York City and earned a living as a nightclub and stage singer, and…

Bi-Visibility Day 23rd September

Bi Visibility Day, also known as International Celebrate Bisexuality Day, has been marked each year since 1999 to highlight biphobia and to help people find the bisexual community. It happens all over the globe. First observed in 1999, Celebrate Bisexuality Day is the brainchild of three United States bisexual rights activists: Wendy Curry of Maine, Michael Page of Florida, and Gigi…

“PROUD” – A Story of Touchstone at Leeds Pride 2017

Once again this year Touchstone staff celebrated all that is “Pink” about Leeds during Pride 2017. Not only did staff march tall with our Pink Pals banner in the parade, we also had a stall in partnership with Leeds Mind and Community Links to raise awareness of mental health amongst the LGBT+ and non-LGBT communities…

Staff 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 2017 survey are summarised below. 16% of staff have a disability, compared to 14% the previous…

Annual Information Report: Who did Touchstone support in 2016/17?

On 31 March 2017 there were over 1500 active service users accessing Touchstone services. This suggests that on any given day we have around 1500 live service users across Touchstone. Half of Touchstone’s live service users come from BME backgrounds. All Touchstone services have a BME service user profile above the 2011 Census baseline. The…

Leadership Masterclass: Steph Calvert

Steph Calvert will be speaking at the Touchstone Leadership Masterclass on Wednesday 26th July 12noon to 2pm at Hillside, Beeston Road, Leeds, LS11 8ND Steph was born in 1958, and only realised she was officially a boy on seeing her first brother in the bath when she was two. Decades of confusion and distress followed, along…

Setting the Standard for Coproduction #coproweek

At Touchstone we strive to model all that is great about coproduction.  In 2016, we delivered Leeds’ first ever coproduction conference which included contributions from all sectors and – of course – experts by experience as a given. We also wrote a blog about the conference for SCIE, which can be found here: http://coproductionweek.blogspot.co.uk/2016/06/coproduction-conference.html On…

In:Charge Leeds Mental Health Coaching Initiaitive

IN:CHARGE is a new and exciting project by Touchstone and PATH Yorkshire, bringing together people from African, African Caribbean, Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Mixed Heritage backgrounds on a FREE 24-week Training Course to learn and develop as a ‘Mental Health Coach’. The project will give participants the chance to improve their employment prospects and leadership skills…

#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…

Understanding Gender Identity: Titles and Pronouns

In the run up to Trans Day of Visibility (31st March), Leeds City Council have released a series of short video presentation about gender identity. Watch the third video on “Titles and Pronouns” below.

Understanding Gender Identity: Sex or Gender

In the run up to Trans Day of Visibility (31st March), Leeds City Council have released a series of short video presentation about gender identity. Watch the first video on “Sex or Gender” below.

‘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…

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…

Promoting positive health and wellbeing in the Sikh community #sikhingpositivity

A new initiative from the Community Development Service is aiming to increase openness, discussion and knowledge about mental health within the Sikh community. Join in and engage with discussions on what mental health means within our community. Have a voice, engage and share your views and stories (both positive and negative). Tune into thought provoking…

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)…

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….

Touchstone wins Employee Engagement award

On Thursday 26th January, the 2016 UK Employee Engagement Awards in association with People Insight, announced its winners – the companies that put workforce engagement at the heart of their business strategy. And, of course, Touchstone was in there, scooping the award in the Inclusion and Diversity category. We were recognised for our allies programme “Pink…

LGBT History Month 2017

This year, LGBT History Month – celebrated in February every year – will look at Citizenship, PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education) and Law as it marks the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of male homosexuality in England and Wales. The overall aim of LGBT History month is to promote equality and diversity for…

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…

Touchstone in Stonewall’s top 100 employers for 2017

Once again, Touchstone has been placed in the Stonewall top 100 employers – highlighting out commitment to maintaining diversity and challenging prejudice. The Stonewall Top 100 Employers are the best performing employers on Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index 2017, an annual audit of workplace culture for lesbian, gay, bi and trans staff The Workplace Equality Index…

‘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…

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…