Self Advocacy

What is Self-Advocacy?

“Self Advocacy helped me learn what I needed to know to appeal and win against ATOS”

Have you experienced mental distress? Used mental health services? Not been listened to?

Self Advocacy (SA) is a FREE series of classes and talks teaching the skills you need to have a stronger voice in situations where you previously weren’t listened to, were discriminated against, or found barriers stopping you from accessing information or services.

Self Advocacy

It’s an award-winning training course (we won the prestigious Best Practice Award in Peer Support Development from the Mental Health Providers Forum for training that empowered people to be more confident in asserting themselves and supporting others) that provides an informal but structured environment where you can meet others with similar experiences and together learn strategies to cope with challenging issues, behaviours or situations, and learn how to improve your general wellbeing.

Self Advocacy workshops take place on Tuesdays from 11am to 1pm and Thursdays from 2pm to 4pm.

All sessions are free for everyone regardless of a personal budget. 

What our previous participants say:

“Lack of confidence is one of the biggest disadvantages for disabled people and building it up is very important. It’s why I started self advocacy. It led on to a lot of things for me like music, creative writing and poetry, which I didn’t realise I could do until I did self advocacy. It’s been a stepping stone. It gave me the confidence and information to tackle my housing problem and certain access needs. Self advocacy can give you the confidence to know when to self advocate and when you need outside support.”

Get yourself heard, listened to, and your views acted upon!
Places are still available – core training places are free and available for people from across London, and beyond! Please contact us as there is no fixed joining date, we’ll advise on the most appropriate date to take up the training.

Self-Advocacy Skills Training -  megaphoneSkills for a stronger voice Schedule for December 2014Why Train in Self Advocacy?

Tuesday 2nd December 11-1pm
This session explains the idea behind Self-Advocacy, and why it is important to use our own voices rather than let others speak for us. Tara Logan-Shand will work through practical exercises and group work designed to share the tools needed to advocate in different situations.
What am I entitled to?
Thursday 4th December 2-4pm
There is a lot of confusion about what people are entitled too, and in this session Tara Logan-Shand will explain how to find out what you are entitled too, from personal budgets through to Personal Independent Payments!
Writing a Living Will-a practical guide
Tuesday 9th December 11-1pm
It is difficult to think that there may be times when we may not be in control of our lives, and that others may not know how we want things to be managed if we are ever in difficulty. A Living Will is a good way to have your wishes taken into consideration. Tara Logan-Shand will break down negative ideas about wills and look at how to stay in control of your affairs.
Relaxation and Caring for Yourself
Thursday 11th December 2-4pm
How many people take time to relax? How do we care for ourselves to make sure we stay well? This session will look at how to take time out, and manage our own wellbeing. There will be an exercise on mindfulness during this session.
Reflective Self Advocacy
Tuesday 16th December 11-1pm
This is the monthly session that we use to focus on what has gone well this month, and what we would like to see in the future.
Holidays and Wellbeing
Thursday 18th December 2-4pm
With Christmas just around the corner, some people find this time of year difficult. There is pressure to be happy and jolly, and for some it is an isolating time, if there are no close family or friends. Tara Logan-Shand will look at ways to banish the Christmas blues, find out what services are running, and how to stay well over the holiday season


Schedule for January 2015

Self Esteem Part 1
Tuesday 6th January 2015 11am-1pm
Self Esteem is Karen Unrue’s speciality! Using personal experience and humour, Karen will discuss why we have poor self-esteem and how we can work to develop it into a positive part of our lives. This is part one of a three part series of Karen’s Self-Esteem sessions

Inclusion London
Thursday 8th January 2-4pm
Inclusion London are an organisation who work towards ensuring people with disabilities have access to services, employment and support. The organisation campaigns to get equal rights for people who live with disabilities and are visiting CoolTan Arts to discuss the Disabled People’s Manifesto

Self Esteem Part Two
Tuesday 13th January 11am-1pm
This is part two of Karen Unrue’s self-esteem training. Karen will look at ways to maintain good self-esteem. You do not need to have attended the first session to benefit from this one

Understanding the Mental Health Act, and Your Rights Regarding it
Thursday 15th January 2-4pm
Bob Lepper from SLaM and Tara Logan-Shand will look at the Mental Health Act, and the Mental Capacity Act, and your rights if you are ever held in hospital. From personal experience, Tara will look at how you can obtain advocacy and also advocate for yourself

Managing Anxiety Part One
Tuesday 20th January 11am-1pm
Tara Logan-Shand, CoolTan Arts self-advocacy trainer, brings back her beloved Managing Anxiety training! Using visual media, personal experience and humour, Tara will focus on why anxiety happens, what we can do about it, and how we can help other people understand us.

Managing Anxiety Part Two
Thursday 22nd January 2-4pm
This is part two of Tara Logan-Shand’s Managing Anxiety training. The session will focus on recognising Anxiety, indicators and triggers. You do not need to have attended the first session to benefit from this one.

How Can I Value Myself When Society Tells Me I’m Worthless?
Self Esteem Part Three
Tuesday 27th January 11am-1pm
Karen Unrue rounds up her three part self-esteem training with a session on how we can value ourselves. You do not need to have attended the first two sessions to get the most from this one.

Panic Attacks-Managing Mayhem!
Thursday 29th January 2-4pm
Tara Logan-Shand uses her own experience as a panic attack fighter to share tips, self management and techniques on managing the chaos of panic attacks. This session will also have information on how to help somebody who is experiencing a panic attack

Self Advocacy will be running a 6 week program for participants who have attended 5 or more sessions and would like to be part of a group who will develop skills to co-facilitate, lead and train others in self advocacy!
The new course will focus upon key skills, such as planning a session, group dynamics, presentations and public speaking.

The benefits of this course;
• Gain skills for employment
• Develop your confidence
• Learn how to plan and present
• Understand how a group runs
We hope to start the course at the beginning of November every Wednesday from 11-1pm. Speak to Kaya or Tara for more information!
You will need to commit to signing up for this 6 week course.

Additional training dates may be added, please check the website for possible changes.

All workshops are based at CoolTan Arts unless specified. Please check in advance with us – thank you.

For more details, please call 020 77012696/0798 565 8443 or email

If the individual is with a CMHT then we require that the Care Coordinator fills in a referral form and sends it to Karen Unrue

CoolTan’s Self Advocacy team are:

Kaya Volke Acting Advocacy Training Coordinator

Tara Logan-Shand Self Advocacy Trainer

tel: 020 7701 2696
mobile: 0798 565 8443




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