Ranked No.3 – 2022/2023

Ranked the UK’s 03rd Most Inclusive Employer, this is the 5th time Mental Health and Wellbeing Charity Touchstone has ranked in the top 3 on The Inclusive Top 50 UK Employers List, showcasing exceptional levels of representation across all protected characteristics at Senior Management, Executive and Board level. The Leeds based charity was born in 1982 after it was acknowledged that large numbers of vulnerable people were left feeling isolated and distressed. 40 years on and Touchstone provide services to over 10,000 people per year, operating across Yorkshire and delivering a wide range of diverse mental health and wellbeing services from preventative to Intensive support.

The charity, which is home to 270+ employees, is acutely aware of their perceived position of strength as a major provider of community based services and have shown enthusiasm for sharing their resources, knowledge and position of influence with smaller, grass roots organisations. They currently boast accolades such as being an accredited Investors in People Platinum (2022 winner of national big employer Investors in People Platinum Award), an accredited Investors in Volunteers, ‘World Class 3 star’ Best Companies and top 20 Stonewall ‘Gold’ employer.

Touchstone is known for actively recruiting service users from diverse backgrounds, and those who have come into support work from non-traditional routes, including those from institutionalised mental health and Criminal Justice Systems who have thrived and advanced into senior roles. This is particularly evident with current Touchstone CEO and former service user Arfan Hanif who is passionate advocate for being an inclusive employer and has set up Touchstone’s ‘Allies Together’ group to ensure diverse staff groups feed directly into decision making.

Hailed by our advisory panel for their ‘forward thinking and impactful inclusive recruitment practices’ and ‘embedding inclusivity in everything they do’, Touchstone’s strong submission and impressive statistics showcased phenomenal commitment to diversity across various topics including recruitment, training, community initiatives, employee engagement and mentoring schemes. Evidence provided is a testament to Touchstone’s passion and determination to putting equality, diversity and inclusion at the heart of the charity, and a position high on the list is most certainly warranted. Touchstone reflects the community they serve, which is apparent in the makes up of their workforce and their data supporting this. In 2021/22, 36% of Touchstone staff were BME, 73% were women, 25% LGB, 15% Muslim, 12% disabled and 6% Trans/Non-Binary. In terms of the Senior Leadership Team (SLT), a third are BME, half LGB, third disabled and two thirds are women.

All SLT staff take an active role in D&I work which includes policy development, delivering training, having lead D&I portfolios and taking a lead on staff support groups. D&I is always discussed at Director supervision meetings including discussions on taking positive action to address gaps. The CEO highlights the importance of D&I during inductions for all new staff, regularly sends out D&I messages to all staff and delivers training.