A journey to my roots

Earlier this year pre-pandemic my husband brought me a birthday gift. It was something i’d given heavy hints about and was pleased that he’d actually listened, remembered and purchased the thing that I wanted. This spared him my look of feigned appreciation (which i’m not very good at), so it would have just been blatant disappointment. Phew, we were both spared. The gift was a DNA test! Yay!! Now to

2020-10-08T15:00:12+01:006th October 2020|Black History Month, Blog|

Shafa – Understanding and compassion is helping South Asian offenders get back on the right track.

Touchstone’s Shafa project helps BAME offenders to rehabilitate by using skilled case workers with lived experience. Critically they know the language of the offenders and are of the same community. This enables trust to be developed in a way that might be difficult for a Probation Officer, and Shafa provides an invaluable resource for the Probation Service to turn to. Asif (not real name) was convicted of a first time

2020-10-02T09:22:30+01:001st October 2020|Blog, Probation Service|

Black History Month 2020

Black History Month is an annual celebration of the contributions and history of people from the African diaspora.  Black History Month started in the United States, where celebrations take place during the month of February, whilst in the UK, BHM is every October. Black History Month was started to showcase the amazing contributions of Black people and communities from across the world.  In Britain, our culture has been enriched and

2020-10-01T17:57:25+01:001st October 2020|Black History Month, Blog|

Shafa – an invaluable resource available to the probation service

Shafa provides a personal touch and a common language to help South Asian offenders to break the offending cycle. With a high rate of compliance and completion, Shafa is an invaluable resource available to the probation service. Touchstone’s Shafa project works with people of South Asian origin, who have been involved with the Criminal Justice System and helps their Case Managers to gain a better understanding of the their needs.

2020-10-02T09:22:13+01:0024th September 2020|Blog, Probation Service|

Employment success – a story of a second chance through ETE support

Second chances don’t come along very often, especially if you are stigmatised by an offending history. Sometimes you need to believe in yourself before you can expect an employer to believe in you. Touchstone’s West Yorkshire Finding Independence (WYFI) project had been working with people who experience multiple and complex needs, including those who have been through the justice system, to gain the skills and the self-belief to get back

2020-09-15T14:10:34+01:0015th September 2020|Blog, Case Study, Complex Needs|

Anti-Stigma Leeds – The Fight Against Mental Health Stigma in Leeds

Mental health problems are common. They affect thousands of people in the UK, and their friends, families, work colleagues, and society in general. In Leeds around 106,000 people experience a common mental health problem, such as anxiety or depression (Leeds in Mind, 2017). Local hospital admissions for self-harm have been increasing for young women over the last 5 years (Young Women’s Mental Health Outcome Based Accountability Report, 2020). In Leeds, men are five

World Blood Donor Day 2020 by Elizabeth Smith

I am ashamed to admit that it took me many years of saying “I should really donate blood” before taking the plunge and booking myself into a blood donating session, and handing over 1 of my 10 pints of blood in the hope it could save someone else’s life.  I can’t be completely sure why it took so long.  I guess it just didn’t seem an overly enjoyable way to

2020-06-15T09:22:56+01:0015th June 2020|Blog|

Leeds Mental Wellbeing Service (LMWS) Volunteers – Tracey’s Journey #VolunteersWeek2020

I would like to pass my sincere thanks on to everybody at Forward Leeds, 5ways, Leeds Mental Wellbeing Service and Touchstone. I have been trying to reduce my drinking for approximately 10 years and the last 5 years have been particularly difficult as my consumption increased and seriously affected both my mental and physical health. My first contact at Forward Leeds was with a worker that himself had had an

2020-06-03T11:10:10+01:003rd June 2020|Blog, Peer Support, Volunteering|

Fasting for the Food Project: What I learnt when I fasted for two days during Ramadan

I recently fasted for two days during Ramadan, to show support for colleagues in the Liaison and Diversion team and across Touchstone, and to raise money for Touchstone’s food project. This was a daunting challenge for me. Getting up at 3:15am to have breakfast, then back to bed for a few hours before getting up and working from home all day, without the distractions of ‘normal life.’ Abstaining from food

2020-05-18T17:00:12+01:0018th May 2020|Blog|

Reverse Mentoring with Finn Dobson

Pronouns: They/Them/Their Some of you may recall my recent shout out for people to be mentored by SMT or to offer reverse mentoring to SMT especially in the areas we felt less knowledgeable, such as Judaism and Trans and Non-binary identities. I am delighted to say that Finn Dobson, who is a peer support worker within Leeds Mental Wellbeing Service, answered the call. Finn told me they had really started

2020-05-17T09:52:10+01:0017th May 2020|Blog|