This is an update summary position on Touchstone’s support and services.  If you would like to get further information please email covid19@touchstonesupport.org.uk

ABCD (Leeds): Asset-based community development in Leeds are still open and offering regular check-ins & mentoring with Community Builders via WhatsApp or Skype, catch ups & opportunities for local residents to stay connected to each other while maintaining social distancing. More information here.

Ask 4 Advocacy (Kirklees): We are very happy to deliver all statutory advocacy within new government guidance related to the corona virus crisis.  There are some restrictions on face to face contact except in special circumstances.  ASK is aiming to use telephone and video contact with clients where possible. More information here.

BAME Dementia Service (Leeds): Touchstone BME Dementia Service is still open and providing much needed support to people with dementia and their families in community languages.  We are providing regular welfare calls to check on safety and wellbeing of our new/existing clients by offering advice, information and emotional support to both people with dementia and their carers.  We are also providing support with food shopping to those clients who are living on their own with no family support. More information here.

Beacon Housing (Leeds): Beacon is still open and we will keep our services running.  The team is working with all our clients, partners, Leeds City Council and other agencies every day. There is a great response from the city as a whole; we are working better together to provide safety and security for all our clients and those most vulnerable in these difficult times.  Touchstone is offering support by phone and we are carrying out essential 121 visits where required.  We have provided a phone (with £10 credit) to all service users who didn’t have one to ensure we can keep in touch and that everyone can stay safe and well. More information here.

Blossom Clinic (Yorkshire): The FGM clinic is currently closed, as it is based in a GP practice.  The Touchstone team is checking the email inbox daily with the phone line also being open normal hours to offer women support if needed.  Meanwhile all the previous patients have been contacted to see if they have any practical/ emotional needs currently and we will stay in regular contact with them throughout this time. More information here.

Community Chronic Pain Peer Support Service (Leeds):  The NHS has taken the difficult step to close the community pain service in order that their staff team can support the covid-19 response.  To support this, Touchstone’s Peer Support Worker and other Touchstone colleagues are offering telephone support to all of the community chronic pain patients/service users.  Initial contact has been made with over 50 patients so far.  A closed Facebook Group has been set up and some are being connected with other patients for peer support on Zoom etc.

Community Support Team (Leeds): As well as maintaining support to our own service users via regular telephone and remote 1:1 appointments, the CST team is supporting LYPFT’s Community Mental Health Teams across Leeds.  The team offered to take on service user telephone support for colleagues within CMHTs and now we are supporting 60 people, freeing up the CMHTs to work with more vulnerable/high risk clients. More information here.

Connecting Opportunities (West Yorkshire): is still running as normal, accepting new referrals and offering support and services remotely.  Touchstone’s keyworker and mental health workers are a key part of this wider service. More information here.

Leeds Mental Wellbeing Service: Information about the whole service can be found on the partnership’s website here. Touchstone’s part in the service is continuing:

– Therapy: Telephone and online therapies are continuing and we are also engaging in video conferencing to ensure people receive a service.  Classes are available online and can been booked through the main LMWS website.

– Support Workers: are making use of digital platforms to reach vulnerable clients and offering clinical interventions for up to 8 sessions.  The use of platforms such as Zoom means we can offer web based face to face engagement.   We are also holding ‘helpful conversation’ and ‘healthy mind’ interventions and making assessments by phone.   Support Workers are gathering intelligence about community services so that they can link responsively to the Primary Care Network to which they are aligned.

– Employment Support: Telephone contact is being maintained with current service users, and the caseload of the workers has increased.  We know that our employment support service will be called on more than ever and are gearing up to dealing with this.

– Peer support:  we are in the process of finding new and robust ways to train volunteers. We are also delivering a peer support for current LMWS clients by phone and through online platforms, including exploring linking to Silvercloud.  We will need the support of volunteers more than ever once the lockdown from the COVID-19 crisis ends and are gearing up for this.

– Coproduction: The Coproduction Network is still meeting by video call. Not all members of the Network currently have access to the internet, so we are working with the 100% Digital Leeds iPad lending scheme to ensure all members can join video calls.  We are continuing with the launch of a coproduction project aimed at improving access to LMWS in Burmantofts, Harehills and Richmond Hill.  We are making use of Twitter and are setting up an e-mail newsletter to reach LMWS clients and beyond. We will be using these channels to identify any additional support that can be coproduced between LMWS and the wider public during the COVID-19 outbreak. One early idea is to facilitate the set-up of a wellbeing podcast, by the public, for the public.

Liaison and Diversion West Yorkshire: Liaison and Diversion has adapted to the current challenges and is embracing new ways of working to ensure we deliver business as usual in a creative manner. Across the five areas of West Yorkshire, the Liaison and Diversion service is running remotely via telephone support in the community with the capacity to offer one to one meetings to those who need them most. Systems are in place in the police stations in each area to ensure that vulnerable people in custody continue to be identified daily and referrals taken and then allocated by coordinators for assessment as usual. Our court provision continues to be fully effective with information from custody shared with our court practitioners to ensure they can write reports for identified people going into court. More information here.

Liaison and Diversion South Yorkshire: We are continuing to support existing service users by offering support via telephone around wellbeing, provision of information, advice and guidance around COVID-19 as well as signposting.  Peer Support Workers have liaised with services and arranged food parcels to be dropped off to those most in need. Whilst restrictions have come into effect in the custody suites across South Yorkshire, the team continue to support the Liaison & Diversion Service and are continuing to take new referrals. More information here.

Live Well Leeds: Live Well Leeds staff are committed to continuing to deliver essential support to people experiencing mild to moderate mental health difficulties. Live Well Leeds is continuing to provide services from telephone support sessions through to online support groups and referrals to sources of food and other practical help.   We have doubled our caseload capacity to support more people 1:1 over the telephone.   More information can be found on Touchstone’s website here, and on the Live Well Leeds website here.

Mentally Healthy Leeds and Better Together: Both services are now supporting new and existing service users remotely.  The teams are working with Leeds City Council and the food banks to operate food parcel deliveries for vulnerable people that are unable to access food / medicines.  We are also offering 1-1 support phone calls, virtual groups such as Quizzes, Games and Wellbeing discussions.  We are getting a lot of calls from isolated people who are in need, and so we are signposting.  We are also offering daily online content such as brain teasers and wellbeing messages, particularly though social media. More information here.

Perinatal Mental Health Peer Support (Leeds):  Touchstone is about to start a new service aimed at supporting people, groups and organisation who offer peri-natal peer support services across Leeds.  We will map provision, analyse gaps and offer support remotely.

Self-Directed Support/ Direct Payments Team (Leeds): We have been working closely with our partners, service users & carers to find new, safe and creative ways to support people across the city offering mental health & wellbeing support to some of the most vulnerable people across the city.  Some of this support currently includes, shopping for people, support to ensure essential utility supplies, monitoring medication, and support collecting medication if needed. We have found different ways of offering emotional support from video calling, telephone calls and working through tasks together or cooking to support people to keep some routine. We recognise that this is a difficult time for everyone; we are assessing individual needs and working closely with CMHT, CPNs, Social Workers, housing providers amongst others to create the most suitable package of support and manage risks that the coming weeks and months may present. More information here.

Shafa West and South Yorkshire: The Shafa staff teams across West and South Yorkshire are continuing to support South Asian offenders.  We are contacting all service users by telephone, and ensuring that Community Rehabilitation Company and National Probation Service officers are kept up to date with all of the casework we continue to do.   Shafa is still accepting referrals/ consultation from CRCs about new cases.  People will be admitted to the service through a remote three way conversation with offender manager, service user and Shafa worker where we will agree targets and priorities. More information here.

Sikh Elders Service (Leeds): The team and service users are socially distancing and staying safe at home.  We are staying connected with our service users via regular phone calls. Some people have asked for video calls which service users say they really love, as they feel as though they are really connected to the outside world.  We are assisting with food and essential supplies.  We have been speaking to various organisations such as Health for All and the Armley Neighbourhood Team to make sure we are working cohesively.  We are sharing NHS and government advice in English and Punjabi.   We are looking at how we can get elders more involved with exercise regimes through social media and are always sharing tips on how to deal with stress in the current situation.  More information here.

Stronger Families (Bradford and Leeds):  We are offering our specialist mental health and wellbeing support to families by telephone.  To keep everyone safe, we have postponed our monthly Time for Me Workshops and Wellbeing Walks.  Touchstone is here to support the whole Stronger Families Bradford partnership at this uncertain time, and we are busy sharing useful mental health information, tools and  resources to help both participants and staff.  We are also offering our expertise to the Stronger Families Parent Participation Group, who are doing a fantastic job of running the Facebook support group. More information here.

Wellbean Cafe (Leeds): The Café is open 7 nights a week from 6pm-12am. We are currently operating all 1-1 support over the phone and face to face support via Zoom, which can be downloaded free of charge on any android phone.  The team are supporting service users to download and install the app to get them connected.   We are making welfare calls during the day, and also arranging for food parcels to be distributed to vulnerable service users in crisis.  Referral to the Café is via the same numbers: Self referral (07760 173476)  professional referral (07760 173505), more information here.

Wellbean Cafe (Kirklees): The café is now operating as a telephone service across Kirklees. We are introducing video calls and will be expanding this into a social space/group chat 7 evenings per week. Café opening times and the referral process are the same. More information here.  New referrals are welcome. We are also providing food parcels to visitors who access the café for support, making welfare calls during the day, and maintaining links with partner organisations.

WYFI (West Yorkshire Finding Independence):The WYFI ETE team continues to provide support, advice and guidance mostly over the phone to beneficiaries and Peer Mentors. We have regular check-ins with beneficiaries, working alongside the local navigator teams to ensure any needs are met.  The team are also identifying ETE opportunities that have arisen from the current situation, from retail through to social care. More information here.

Your Space (Leeds): Your Space is offering lots of online support including through Facebook Groups dedicated to specific neighbourhoods, men’s groups, Zoom chat groups such as Chocolate, Chat and Chill and Journaling. Your Space is active on Twitter, Instagram and through WhatsApp Groups as well as one-to one support by telephone. More information here.

Kind regards,

Touchstone Senior Management Team

Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash