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CoolTan Arts in Guardian Christmas charity appeal








CoolTan Arts are very excited to be one of the Guardian’s Christmas Appeal charities, we’d like to say a big thanks to the Guardian for their support!

Each year they choose a theme to support over the festive period and this year they have chosen mental health. We are one of nine mental health charities who are selected to benefit along with Mind, Starwards, MAC UK, Kidstime Foundation, Rethink, Samaritans, Centre for Mental Health and Gardening Leave.

Check out this wonderful article about us by Simon Hattenstone:

You can keep track of the appeal online on the Guardian website:, or follow on Twitter under the hashtag #GuardianChristmas.

If you would like to donate and support the appeal please do so directly here:


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CoolTan Arts Exhibition – A Remix of the Local Saturday 13th – 17th December

Remix art show









CoolTan Arts will be having a special festive art show between the 13th and 17th December!

A Remix of the Local will show selected works from CoolTan’s previous exhibition that focus on local stories and locations.

All work has been made by CoolTan artists in a variety of media, including paint, pen, collage and textiles.

The Artworks,
Elephant Road
SE17 1AY

The show is open between 11am and 5pm all week. Pop in and have a look!

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Largactyl Shuffle Musical Walk – Saturday 20th December

musicalCelebrate the festive season on a musical stroll with CoolTan Arts Largactyl Shuffle!

Saturday, 20th December 2014
Start: Tate Modern, Bankside
Ends: Bermondsey
Times: 11.45am – 4pm
Cost: Free/voluntary donation

We will stop en route for short talks about local musicians, both past and present, with close connections to the area, find out about about the ancient Christmas tradition of wassailing, and sing some carols and festive songs along the way.

CoolTan Arts Largactyl Shuffle is a guided, stigma-busting cultural walk, designed to encourage mental and physical wellbeing, through art, exercise, humour and history.

You can join us for whatever tickles your fancy feet, whether it is half a mile, one mile or the full distance. Largactyl Shuffle walks are suitable for all levels of walking and are accessible to wheelchair users and people with disabilities.

The walk leaders wear orange high-viz vests and rucksacks. Call CoolTan Arts on 07985 658443 if you cannot find the walking group on the day.

Check for more details or email/call
020 7701 2696

All Welcome!


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The Winter Issue of CoolFruit

Cool fruit dec issue

The latest issue of CoolFruit: The CoolTan Arts Review is out now!

We have some great articles on benefit sanctions and delays, CoolTan’s award-winning Self-Advocacy Project, mindfulness and more!

Learn all about the history of umbrellas and about how getting enough daylight can improve your mental wellbeing. Also – festive poetry, recipes, reviews and lots of artwork!

The new issue is on this page ( from December 5th. You can read past issues of CoolFruit there too.

If you are having problems accessing the magazine through the Issuu website, click here ( for copies you can download (these are large PDF files).

Make sure you are signed up to CoolTan’s mailing list to receive CoolFruit direct to your inbox.

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Seasonal Gifts from CoolTan Arts

xmas picAre you after some unique gifts for friends or loved ones during the festive season?

Visit the CoolTan Arts shop COOLTRADE to check out greeting cards made by CoolTan participants and other great gifts like our Food for Mood Cookbook.

The Food for Mood Cookbook explores the important link between food and mood and has beautifully illustrated recipes for some of our favourite culinary creations. Researched, written and designed by CoolTan Arts’ participants, Food for Mood serves up recipes and stories that reflect heritages from all over the globe. It would be a perfect gift for anyone!

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Largactyl Shuffle Flash Mob at the V&A

Flash Mob









On Friday 21st November 2014 CoolTan Arts Largactyl Shuffle took part in the #ExpressYourself event at the V&A Museum with a flash mob protest about mental health.

Check out a video of the event online here:

Volunteer Serena Ruffoni was there and wrote the following review:

A CoolTan Arts gang performed a mighty flash mob at the Victoria & Albert Museum on Friday 21st November. I was there to participate and I’ll tell you how it went.

I’ve never participated in a flash mob, I’ve just been told to show up at the V&A at 18.30 so here I am. Among the elegant, hipster crowds, I immediately spot a group of people hanging around with an air of suspicion, hiding placards and materials behind their backs.. It was them of course. A few directions, discussions, and organizations from Lou and Genevieve, and we are set to go.

The aim is to attract people’s attention on the issues people with a history of mental distress experience, mainly isolation, social stigma and prejudice. And we’re going to do it in style! We are equipped with colourful placards, leaflet, banners, and we are prepared to make noise!! For added dramatic effect, we have our drummer who’s eager to be as loud as possible to make us heard.

Around 19.00 people here are quietly watching the exhibition, glass in hand, chatting. They don’t expect what’s going to happen…And then, suddenly, the music stops. Boom!!
The drum sets off while four of us make a real mess with whistles and bells. The audience stops chatting, as their attention is drawn to a group of people standing still on the balcony’s hall. What they see is one of our group, with her mouth shut my tape, showing a series of banners reciting “DO I LOOK MENTAL TO YOU?”


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Open Day, Volunteer Forum and Peace Day – 21st January

Come to CoolTan Arts Open Day, Volunteer Forum and Peace Day!

Wednesday 21st January, 1-5pm at CoolTan Arts, Third Floor,
224 – 226 Walworth Road, London SE17 1JE

Open Day 1-3pm

Drop in any time  to find out more about CoolTan Arts.

  • Want to take a taster for self advocacy? Find out how to make your voice heard!
  • Want to find out why drawing is helpful for your mental health?
  • How about taking a taste of some of our healthy ‘cooking club cuisine’?
  • Find out why people come to CoolTan Arts!

For more information contact Tara Logan-Shand at

Volunteers Forum and Peace Day, 3-5pm

From 3-5pm we will be having a volunteers forum. This is your chance to learn more about volunteering, meet other volunteers, hear about what’s going on at CoolTan in the coming months and most importantly have your say about any ideas, projects or training coming up for volunteers in 2015.

During the day there will also be the chance to get involved in workshops exploring the themes of Peace and Good News.

Refreshments will be provided throughout the afternoon – if you would like to lead part of the forum please email Sarah

Open Day photo


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CoolTan Creative Workshops – 2015 Schedule


CoolTan are running a new series of FREE 12 week  workshops from the 5th January 2015. Workshops are open to all people 18+ with experience of mental distress (self defined) who are currently unemployed.

Come along, gain new skills, meet new people and explore your creative side. Friendly and relaxed environment, with small groups and professional tutors.

**Book your place now**  Call 020 7701 2696 or email

Workshop Dates

Art – Tuesdays 11-1pm – Empower yourself through creativity with our unique art workshop. Experiment with different themes and styles, and  explore various art techniques, such as acrylic, watercolours, charcoal etc. Meet like minded people in this small friendly group with a professional and supportive tutor. Suitable for all levels. Embrace the opportunity to exhibit in CoolTan and beyond!
Film – Tuesdays 11-1pm – Learn how to do your own film-making and editing. Use some of the latest cameras and sound microphones to make your own creative piece of work for internet or DVD. Along the way you will gain a good working knowledge of the Final Cut Pro editing programme. No previous experience necessary except basic I.T skills.
Creative Writing – Wednesdays 11-1pm -  Explore techniques, find inspiration and learn how structure your writing to make it exciting and engaging. Come along, learn, create and enjoy!
WordPress – Thursdays 1:30-3:30pm -  Be guided step-by-step through the process of how to create a customised mini website, using WordPress, the popular free blogging platform. We’ll be covering the basics of WordPress installation, how to use the WordPress dashboard, how to create and modify menus, content pages and posts, handling digital media, such as images and videos, as well as exploring the many options available to customise the appearance and design. No previous experience necessary except basic I.T skills.
Photoshop – Thursdays 11-1pm – Learn how to edit and retouch your photography to a professional standard. Use layers, filters, text and drawing tools to create artistic effects.  Gain the skills to cut out and combine images to create collages, posters and artworks. No previous experience necessary except basic I.T skills.
Location: CoolTan Arts, Third Floor, 224-236 Walworth Road, SE17 1JE.
With thanks to our funders:


big lottery_pink

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CoolWalks – New Dates

CoolTan are excited to have new CoolWalks coming up in January 2015.
CoolWalks are guided walks for wellbeing, giving participants to opportunity to get to know more about their local area’s history and their local Southwark libraries.

Full details on, or email or twitter @CoolWalks


Freedom walkCoolTan CoolWalks – Film Locations in the Borough
Saturday, 10th January, 2015 and Thursday, 29th January, 2015
Time: 12:30pm
Start Location: John Harvard Library, 211 Borough High Street, SE1 1JA

Lights! Camera! Action!  You’ve seen the film and got the DVD – now join CoolTan Arts CoolWalks on a free guided walk to get up close and personal with the streets and buildings of Borough and Bankside that many familiar films have used as their backdrop.  Learn new things, make friends, get fit and have fun.

Start at John Harvard Library at 12:30pm and finish at Tate Modern at 3:00pm.

The walk is approximately 1.5 miles and we would ask participants to wear sensible walking footwear and weather appropriate clothing.

Nearest tube.-Tube: Borough or London Bridge
Train: London Bridge
Bus: 21, 35, 40, 133, 343

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Free Photography and Local History Workshops – enter photo competition ‘Elephant & Castle’s Finest’

Photography workshopParticipate in a photography project run by Cooltan Arts and the Mace team at Newington Butts.

The theme of the project is ‘Elephant & Castle’s Finest’ – capture Elephant & Castle and the neighbouring areas at their best; to show its hidden treasures.

CoolTan will run free workshops in street photography and local history (led by the Largactyl Shuffle) on Tuesday 13th, 20th, 27th January. 10-2pm.

To take part in the workshops please contact Olivia Moyes 020 7701 2696

Competition info:
Open to all who like photography, no need to take part in the workshops.
Images need to meet the following criteria:
*Taken by at least 2 or 3 megapixel camera
*JPEG files only
*File names should include the participant’s name
*Submit a maximum of three images

Please email images to by 4pm on Friday 6th February.

An exhibition of participants’ photos will be held on 24th February 2015.
A panel of judges will select a number of the photos for public display on the hoarding of Mace’s Newington Butts project. One image will also be turned into a card for CoolTan Arts’ shop.

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Help create a new artist app at CoolTan in 2015

Artist appFollowing the success of the Van Gogh walk launched earlier this year, CoolTan Arts is continuing the collaboration with Artangel, artist R.M. Sánchez-Camus and Pan Studios with a new digital media project.

Every Wednesday 10:30am-1:00pm @ CoolTan Arts Computer Lab
Starting 4th February 2015
Workshops are every week until the July and open to everyone. Drop in whenever you can!

Learn about smartphone technology, apps, GPS, interactivity and how to extend artmaking into the public sphere. Workshops will give hands on art training in social projects, sound projects, walking and digital media.

The project will explore the balance of the real/conscious vs. the imaginary/subconscious offering participants a safe space in which to play with their creativity, as an act of creative living.

This is an exciting opportunity for anyone interested in learning more about the crossroads of digital media and art making. If you would like to participate please contact to register for the workshops.

If you haven’t heard the walk, you can stream or download it here:

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Men’s Day – A Review

Men's day-a reviewOn Wednesday 19th November CoolTan celebrated International Men’s Day with a packed programme of workshops and activities.

About 40 people attended CoolTan Arts during the afternoon and took part in workshops ranging from Cooking to Drumming to Exercise Techniques.

Our Self Advocacy group also ran a special session looking at Masculinity and Mental Health.

We also had on offer tasty snacks which benefit the prostate and free health checks were available. A brilliant day was had by all!

Photography by Jonathon Vines

Read more to see photos from the event…

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New Staff & New Project






Innovative Wellbeing Service started in August 2014 at CoolTan Arts.  We are based at Lambeth Walk Group Practice offering individual appointments and running a group open to all people looking to explore ways of improving their wellbeing and quality of life.
There are 2 new Wellbeing Advisors, Lulu & Renu.
Lulu has worked in statutory mental health settings for a decade and she is a passionate believer that engaging in the arts supports wellbeing.  Renu has worked voluntarily and in paid work with people experiencing emotional distress since 2001, she has knowledge of local communities and resources. She is keen to increase the accessibility to wellbeing services for everyone. The team are excited about developing and working on this exciting project at CoolTan Arts and welcome enquiries from anyone across London who want to participate in the wellbeing service. Also appointments to give a talk at your workplace is available. … you can contact them on or call the office on 020 7701 2696.


Innovative Wellbeing Service available to adults (18+) registered with any GP practices across London.

We are offering individual wellbeing support and wellbeing plans for people looking to explore ways of improving their wellbeing and quality of life. We currently run many free workshops, activities and training opportunities, places are limited. We also offer information on where to access other free and low cost services in the local area.

Make an appointment with a Wellbeing Advisor:
We are based at Lambeth Walk Group Practice,
5 Lambeth Walk, London SE11 6SP (opposite War Museum, nearest tube Lambeth North)
020 7735 4412
Wellbeing Advisors are available on Tuesdays & Wednesdays 1.30pm-5.30pm Friday 10.00am-1pm

Walk-In Wellbeing afternoons every Friday 2pm-4pm  

Come along to find out more about the ‘5 steps to wellbeing’ & free activities on offer.

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Thanks to all who took part in our Sponsored Walk!

A massive thank you to everyone who took part in this brilliant day, we have now raised nearly £10,000 for CoolTan!

If you would still like to donate and help us reach our £10,000 target you can do so online here: www,

About 90 people gathered for our Innovation and Transformation Sponsored Walk on Saturday, 11 October, when we walked from Maudsley Hospital to Waterloo. Led by our Largactyl Shuffle group, this fun guided walk through London’s history, celebrated World Mental Health Day, and raised funds for CoolTan Arts.











This year’s theme was Innovation and Transformation in Medicine, Technology and Art, exploring the impact of WW1. We were joined by the Artist Taxi Driver Mark McGowan, who is known internationally for his performance art, and kindly decided to get out his cab and walk the talk to beat stigma.

Our first stop was just around the corner at the Institute of Psychiatry, where we heard about William Rivers’ pioneering treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome during the First World War. We then stopped to install two white memorial bikes at the junction of Albany Road and Camberwell Road. This was where one of our most valued volunteers, Richard Muzira, was sadly killed in a cycling accident last year.

We afterwards moved on to St Peter’s Church in Liverpool Grove and heard talks about zeppelin raids, conscientious objectors and the writer Vera Britain, who worked as a nurse in a military hospital in Myatt’s Fields during WW1.

There was a further talk about the war poets Wilfred Owen and Seigfreid Sassoon on the way to the Imperial War Museum, where we heard about art and prosthetics and the important role that black soldiers played during WW1. Our walk finished at The Vaults in Waterloo with cakes, hot drinks and a big thanks to everybody who did such a great job in fundraising for CoolTan Arts.

See our film of the event, made by our brilliant video group:

Review by Tim Russell. Photography by Julija Tamuleviciute, Andrea Abril, Shahin Shahablou, Nuala Hamilton, Rik Sanders and Michelle Baharier.

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