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Leeds Survivor Led Crisis Service

Leeds Survivor Led Crisis Service is looking for new people to join our Board of Trustees

About the opportunity

Leeds Survivor Led Crisis Service is a vibrant, highly respected, innovative and multi award-winning charity. We provide services to people in acute mental health crisis, which are alternatives to hospital admission or statutory services. The Board of Trustees play a crucial role in leading and steering the organisation and upholding its vision and philosophy.

The role of Trustee involves meeting, usually on a Monday afternoon on a bi monthly basis and occasional additional involvement, such as sitting on interview panels for staff. You will need to be able to make a minimum commitment to LSLCS of 6 afternoon meetings per year. New Trustees are provided with a supportive induction and are mentored by an existing Trustee for the first six months of involvement.

What are we looking for?

We are looking for people with direct experience of emotional distress, who are currently using mental health services and who have an interest in alternative, pioneering ways of working with distress and crisis. People currently using the services of LSLCS are not eligible to be trustees, but can attend Board meetings as expert advisors.

We are particularly keen to achieve a more diverse Board of Trustees and we welcome applications from all sections of the community.

All new trustees are subject to a DBS check.

Contact for further details

If you are interested in finding out more about becoming a Trustee with Leeds Survivor Led Crisis Service please contact us on survivor.led@lslcs.org.uk or phone 0113 260 9328.


Enquire today and participate in an enriching experience which directly impacts on improving the lives of people with mental health problems in Leeds.


I met (virtually!) with Fiona Venner from Leeds Survivor Led Crisis Service.  She updated me about the service and the benefits it brings to people across Leeds in a Q&A.

Q.  Can you tell me about Leeds Survivor Led Crisis Service and what it offers? 

Leeds Survivor Led Crisis Service was set up in 1999 by a group of service users. The service was established, and continues to be governed and managed, by people with direct experience of mental health problems. We have our own unique perspectives on what it feels like to be in crisis and what helps and does not help. We have developed our service based on this knowledge and experience, while responding to the needs articulated by our visitors and callers.

We provide the following services:

Connect               0808 800 1212

Connect is a telephone helpline open 6-10.30 every night of the year. The service provides emotional support and information for people in distress. We receive around 5,000 calls a year. People can ring who are in crisis, anxious, depressed or lonely. They will be offered non judgemental and empathic support and information about other services, if requested. Connect supports people in crisis, as well as providing a preventative service, by supporting people before they reach crisis point. Connect also receives funding to provide emotional support to people who are carers.

Connect now offers online support to callers via our website. This provides an alternative to talking on the phone.

Connect is staffed by volunteers who have gone through a comprehensive and rigorous training programme and receive ongoing supervision, training and support. Many of them have their own experiences of mental health problems. Each shift is supervised by a paid shift supervisor.

Dial House          0113 260 9328

Dial House is a place of sanctuary open 6pm-2am Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Visitors can access when they are in crisis. They can telephone to request a visit, or turn up at the door 6-10.30.

Visitors can use the house as time out from a difficult situation or a home environment where they may feel unsafe or that may exacerbate their difficulties. Visitors can relax in a homely environment and can also gain one to one support from the team of Crisis Support Workers.

At Dial House we have a family room, so parents in crisis can bring children with them. We also transport visitors to and from the house by taxi, to make their journey safe and comfortable.

Dial House is now accessible to Deaf people. We can provide access to the service via text instead of phone and have BSL trained support workers to support Deaf visitors to the service.

Dial House @ Touchstone           0113 249 4675

Dial House @ Touchstone is the Dial House service, provided 6pm-11pm on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at the Touchstone Support Centre. The service provides crisis support to people from Black and Minority Ethnic Groups.

Dial House @ Touchstone is a partnership between Leeds Survivor Led Crisis Service and Touchstone. It brings together LSLCS’s expertise in providing crisis services and Touchstone’s in supporting people from BME groups.

Dial House @ Touchstone has received £500k in Lottery funding for five years. The project will open to new visitors on 1st October 2013.

The service is staffed by a Manager, Senior Crisis Support Worker and three Crisis Support Workers who are all from BME groups.

The service provides a place of sanctuary, emotional support and information. The staff will work in Dial House @ Touchstone and Dial House. The aim is to provide a culturally specific service at Dial House @ Touchstone, but also to provide a bridge to Dial House and make this service more accessible.

Dial House @ Touchstone is available for anyone from a BME group, including Refugees and Asylum Seekers. As with Dial House, transport and childcare are provided.

Group Work                       0113 260 9328

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Group, Tuesday 4-6

Hearing Voices Group, Wednesday 12-2

My Time Thursday peer and social support group, Thursday 12-3

Man-age men’s group, Thursday 3.15-5.15

Self Harm Group, Saturday 11-1

Coping with Crisis Group, Saturday 2-4

Q. What do people say about the service – what kind of difference does it make?

Here are some direct quotes from visitors and callers about the differences our services make:

“Just a short note to say thanks to Katharine for helping me to wash my hair.  It seems like such a simple thing to help with, but it is the fact that Dial House are there to help with everything including simple things which makes Dial House such a unique and fantastic place.”

“Dial House is mint!  It’s proper ace, it’s decent, proper nice.  Staff are really good, they listen and people are well nice to be around.  It’s cool to be around people who know what you have been through and who understand you – people who don’t judge you.”

“Its like a sanctuary here, I calmed down as soon as I walked in, feel safe and more like me again”

“I started to come to Dial House about 2 ½ years ago.  When I turned up I was suffering from bad depression and drug addiction.  I was very messed up, the staff here stuck by me and didn’t judge me, they also helped me believe in myself which gave me a little hope and helped me on my way to rehab.  I am doing really well and Dial House are still here for me, I am so grateful for Dial House.  Thank you.”

“Can I first start by saying my life is one big struggle.  I suffer with manic depression and at the moment Dial House is keeping me alive.  I don’t have much family that supports me or friends.  What you all are offering to me and I am sure lots of other people is not just somebody to talk to but a life line.  I hope that all the staff here can just stop a minute to realise how much you all are cared and loved by me.  Thanks so much for saving my life on so many occasions.”

“This is the best crisis service I have come across in all my time in Mental Health.”

“You have saved my life and given me the will to live”

Q. How can people get involved?

We are always looking for new volunteers for the Connect Helpline. Call 0113 260 9328 if you are interested in volunteering.

Q. What are the key messages for mental health staff?

In my opinion, the most important qualities to provide in a mental health service are:

  • Listening

“You listen, you don’t judge, you don’t tell me what to do.”

  • Treating people with warmth, kindness and respect,

“Thank you for all your wonderful warmth and for making me feel a worthwhile person tonight.”

  • People not feeling judged or assessed

“It is different to other services – it is easier to talk to staff. Staff are nice. They don’t judge you or put a label on you – saying ‘that’s what’s wrong with you.’”

  • Providing a different, safe and alternative environment

“It gets me out of the environment I am in, where I am alone, my minds racing with impulsive thoughts. It gives me a break from all of that and I return home and can go to sleep, a decent sort of sleep.”

  • Peer support

“It gives me a break. By being around people in the same situation as you; you are not having to feel ashamed.”

Thank you for the update Fiona 🙂

If you are in the voluntary sector in Leeds or York and want to share what you do and the benefits it brings to people, then get in touch via donna.kemp@nhs.net

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