“I grew up in Kirkstall. My father moved the family down to South Gloucester and we lived there until recently. They don’t have anything like the support they have here. We were pretty much left to fend for ourselves there. When I found out they had a residents association (RA) here, I was so pleased. Within a few weeks of being here, I was nominated to be the club secretary. I get involved with as many activities as I can. Like the arts and craft session put on by CHUMHI. I’m restricted due to my disabilities but I try. I’m a big Pokemon Go fan. I push myself to go out and walk around. It also means I meet other players and socialise a little. When I get back at night, I will be in a lot of pain. But it stops me becoming stagnant and keeps me out of a wheelchair.
I’m quite resilient. Being in the army for five years taught me that. I don’t give up easily and always want to keep going. I was one of the first women in the country to work in AA patrol. You could say I was a bit of a trailblazer.”
Touchstone provides a range of innovative services to improve the health and wellbeing of culturally diverse communities in our city. Their Leeds Fund Strategic Grant enabled them to provide an intensive 24 week mental health coaching programme called IN:CHARGE, specifically for Black and Minority Ethnic individuals in East Leeds with lived experience of mental health issues. The project saw a number of individuals become fully trained mental health coaches for their communities, building their leadership and employability skills, and helping to reduce stigma and raise awareness among local people.
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