Crisis Service Christmas Opening Hours

Fiona Venner, the Manager of Leeds Survivor Led Crisis Service (LSLCS) says:

“Christmas is the worst time of year for many people and it is very important that people who may need our support know that we are open during this period.”


The Crisis Service will be open right through Christmas, with two services, Dial House @ Touchstone and the Connect Helpline being open on Christmas Day. For the full list of their opening times, click below:

LSLCS Christmas Opening Hours 2014

A reassuring cold?

If you walk through the air today
you’d be surprised.
You’ll find that the same ‘cold’
breeze of yesterday
feels reassuring in the heat of the sun,
and seeps in through
your grey or colourful jumper.
The frost hugs you,
In a warm embrace.


By Amanda Lynsdale

Photo source
The Italian Voice, Cold outside,, accessed 20.12.2014

Leeds Art Gallery Welcomes You

We like Leeds Art Gallery. Not only is it free and warm, but there are often great exhibitions like the Fiona Rae one we covered in 2012. Jude Woods has the fabulous job title of Assistant Community Curator at the Gallery and was first mentioned on the blog in connection with the brilliant Black History Month event ‘Five’ in November, where a panel of 4 artists walked us around the gallery and talked about artworks from the perspective of ‘Empire’.

Five Black History Month

Now Jude has written us about her work at the Gallery, and some great opportunities to get down there and get involved. Jude says:

“It’s my job to encourage more people to come to the gallery especially people who haven’t been before. I also help people to enjoy the artworks by making our activities more accessible. I offer gallery tours to community groups and activities for children and adults. I work both at the gallery and out in the community. As well as one off events I also offer some regular groups which people can get involved in, at the moment they are:”

• Artful: easy arts activities for families in the gallery, every third Saturday of the month – Drop in between 1 and 3 or come to the whole session.

• Artful @ Marlborough Street (in the community hall): easy arts activities for anyone (adults and children) who lives around Marlborough Street (LS1), last Saturday of the month. Drop in between 1 and 4 or come to the whole session.

• Queer Eye Group: for anyone who is interested in Queer Culture, we explore the artworks in the gallery with a ‘queer eye’ using discussion, drama and arts activities. Tuesdays 4.30 – 6.30 and Thursdays 11 – 2, we meet most weeks but get in touch to find out when the next sessions are on.
• LGBT*IQ Social History Project: This new project is about collecting historical objects and telling the stories of our local gay communities, get in touch of you want to get involved. (LGBT*IQ: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans*, Intersex, Queer/Questioning)

• The Warm Welcome Project: (starts March 2015) every Friday morning (10.30 – 12) in the gallery we will have interesting conversations about the artworks, drop in or stay for the whole session. Find out more about the artworks, join in a discussion about art and life using easy words so everyone can join in.

• Working in partnership with People in Action we offer 2 regular arts sessions for adults who have a learning disability: Saturdays 11 – 1 and starting in 2015 another during the week. Contact People in Action ( 0113 2470411) to join the groups.

• Multi-sensory tours for people who have visual impairment: available from March 2015, for both individuals and groups, get in touch to find out more.

Any questions? Get in touch to find out more:
Jude Woods, Leeds Art Gallery, 0113 2477021,

Acupuncture at Phoenix Health and Wellbeing centre


Daniel Tavet

Yin-yang  Daniel Tavet

Phoenix Health and Wellbeing in Leeds city centre provide alternative treatments such as various massages, aromatherapy and acupuncture. Acupuncture is a very ancient form of treatment. Traditionally, the Chinese believe our bodies have an energy force called ch’i (pronounced ‘chee’) or qi. Ch’i runs through the body in channels called meridians. These meridians can become blocked either through excessive yang energy – an energy that creates activity, or excessive yin energy – an energy that creates passivity.  An excess in either yang or yin is the result of certain thoughts and actions. The excess can cause mental and/or physical illnesses and more minor conditions.   It is believed that applying the acupuncture needles in specific points on the body stimulates the meridians which then un-block.  The needles are thin and sometimes people don’t feel them when they are applied or just after application.  The acupuncturist at Phoenix explained that in China, acupuncture is a communal treatment, many people will be treated in the same room at once. On Wednesdays Phoenix treat three people simultaneously in their Community Acupuncture clinic.

The staff at Phoenix were very pleasant and friendly.  The acupuncturist asked about my health and how much sleep I get, then I got on the bed which was like a more comfortable version of the type you see at a conventional doctor’s.  There was relaxing classical music playing in the background.  The acupuncturist and a trainee took my pulse.  A needle was placed in each elbow and a few were put in my lower legs.  I was often asked if I felt comfortable and okay.  I did.  I was then told to simply relax and I shut my eyes for about fifteen minutes.  I felt some pleasant sensations in my arms.  By the time the needles were removed, I felt very relaxed, almost to the point of drowsiness.  The acupuncturist said I could relax for a little longer before leaving.

When I left the room, the receptionist asked if I was alright and gave me a glass of water. The acupuncturist said to keep hydrated with hot drinks.  I was asked if I would come again, I definitely would.

Phoenix also provide counselling and support to people with mental and/or physical health issues.

By Daniel Tavet

Feeling broken?

Leeds Wellbeing Web:

Is it risky to love and care for others? How does it feel to be broken? Does Enlightenment help? As we descend into the gloom before Solstice, or if the demands of preparing for Christmas leave us feeling stressed, these questions might lighten our thoughts.

Originally posted on Beyond Meds:

black roseI shared the below on Facebook the other day…I thought that together they make a nice little post.

I needed to remember this tonight and a friend conveniently shared this quote that I’ve found comfort in many times now:

Make no mistake about it – enlightenment is a destructive process. It has nothing to do with becoming better or being happier. Enlightenment is the crumbling away of untruth. It’s seeing through the facade of pretense. It’s the complete eradication of everything we imagined to be true. ~ Adyashanti

And shortly after that, this one popped up. Via Madhupa Maypop (thank you!)

Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You…

View original 90 more words

British Summer Time 2014

Seasonal Change

Those who live with the experience of mental distress, often find seasonal change affects them, sometimes positively, at other times less so. I am no exception. Fluctuating mood change can be exacerbated by a lack or an excess of light, and warmth. Seasonal change, particularly Autumn to Winter, when British Summer Time ends, and I’ve turned back my clock, is a time of reflection.

This year Autumn was mild in temperature and without strong winds, enabling the ‘last of leaves’¹, in all their multicolored glory, to remain clinging to their branches. Making way for a slide show of every shade and hue.

Changing colours

Changing colours Sue Margaret

Evergreens, gold, fuschia, magenta, copper, lime……fruits and berries ripen blood red and burnt orange;

Berry ripe  Sue Margaret

Berry ripe
Sue Margaret

Shiny horse chestnut fruits, rosehips. Natures harvest, a time when the old harvest festival hymns may drift to the surface of my mind. Memories of garnered wheatsheaves inspire  to indoor crafts, and remembrance of my earlier years when household grated fires were commonplace…..’all is safely gathered in’².

The Autumn always touches the wistful parts of me, and thus affects my wellbeing, mostly in positive ways. Initially at the change of season I may feel a twinge of mourning for the passing of the lighter and warmer months.Temporarily I go in to hibernation mode, feeling uncontrollably sleepy,  pj days become more frequent. After the initial adjustment to the seasons change I enjoy it’s mellowness and ‘faint blue mists’³, which tap in to my ‘foggy ruins of time’.¹ It’s  ‘carpet of gold’¹, with fungi and the earthy smells of decaying foliage, evoke feelings that are hard to grasp or write about. I give them freedom to ripple through me. Although every season has it’s charm I think Autumn is my favorite because it keeps me in touch with the transient nature of all things, and my recognition that there is beauty in change. Fallen leaves that have withered and dried or turned soggy, form their own lovely patterns.

Dry withering & soggy beauty

Dry withering & soggy beauty by Sue Margaret

Now in the Autumn of my life I find I’ve physically slowed down, (the mind still races!). This together with ‘retirement’ has given me more time in my daily routine to ‘stand and stare’. I frequently dawdle to admire all the fleetingly gorgeous scenes of seasonal change, and talk to any little furry or feathered creature that crosses my path. During the summer I also had some lovely chats with people over their garden fences, and in addition  glanced more frequently above street level. One mid-summer evening with the sun sinking fast I paused to watch and photograph. I wasn’t sure the dimming light would allow me to get a good shot of Kirkgate Market’s spectacular Kremlin like rooftop. I was pleased with the result my Bloggie snap camera made of the fading blue and tinged pink sky of sunset. This Lower Eastgate vista will soon disappear permanently as it becomes hidden by Victoria Gate, indeed within a few days of taking the shot, cranes and diggers had moved on site, marring the view. Actually I like cranes and diggers, and often stop and watch them, pondering about the amount of design, planning and sheer slog which goes into any building, and the lives of those who regardless of the season labour outdoors.

Bloggie disappearing skyline

The pleasurable warmth and light of this Spring and Summer’s seasonal change and experiences, linger still. As the color show of Autumn fades and the season descends into the stark contrasting shades of Winter, I anticipate with pleasure its glittering hoar frosts, when frozen grass will crunch beneath my feet, and the icy air make steam of each person’s breath. Wellbeing for me involves adjusting gracefully or otherwise to seasonal, physical and emotional change, embracing their darker side.

Sue Margaret

¹ Bob Dylan ‘Lay down your weary tune’: Mr Tambourine Man’ & ‘When the ship come in’

² Henry Alford ‘Come you thankful people come’

³ Seigfreid Sassoon ‘October’


Silence in the snow, the rain
Silence in the sun rays and darkness                                                                               Then gently, things start to happen…


One person plays football
The other walks by
One person talks to friends
The others have snowball fights.


That patch of land sees more than we’ll know.
Now, a cat comes by
Unaware of the foxes to follow far behind.


To a place that is part of history
hidden in the wake of actions
of people and animals that pass.
And on into extinction.

That patch of land stays the same
Through millennia and century.
Animals evolve and the earth turns.


Romans have walked where
Greeks have wondered where
Dinosaurs have pounced

images (1)

And all on this land you call home…

By Amanda Lynsdale

Photo sources:-

1. Seattle Municipal Archives – Boy kicking football, 1920 – Item 31106, Ben Evans Recreation Program Collection (Record Series 5801-02), Seattle Municipal Archives      – accessed 22.11.2014

2. Dan Nguyen – Nemo, Times Square Snowball Fight –   – accessed 22.11.2014

3. Daniele Oberti – Cat walking on a shadow –  – accessed 22.11.2014

4. Mary Harrsch-  Bronze greave Greek –    – accessed 22.11.2014

5. Loren Javier- Dinosaurs from the Disneyland Railroad –    – accessed 22.11.2014