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.

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. 

Upcoming sessions include How to Develop Your Self Esteem, Coping with Panic Attacks, Understanding how Medicines Work, Looking at Gender in Mental Health and Understanding the Mental Health Act.

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  megaphone

Skills for a stronger voice

Schedule for July 2014

How to Manage Your Anxiety Part 2 | 29th July | 2pm – 4pm
Come to learn practical solutions from CoolTan Arts’ highly knowledgeable and passionate Karen Unrue for how to cope and live with anxiety and how to challenge those all-persuasive thoughts so you don’t have to be controlled by your worries. You don’t have to have attended part 1 of this session last month to attend. Everyone is welcome!

Understanding How Medicines Work with Kalliopi Vallianatou of SLaM | 31 July | 2-4pm
Want to understand what you are taking, why it’s been prescribed and how it affects you? Kalliopi will be here to clear up misconceptions, offer a guide to popular prescribed drugs and answer your queries about what to do if you are unhappy with your medication.

Self Advocacy training is an award-winning series of free classes and talks teaching you 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. We provide an informal but structured environment where you can look at ways to help yourself, pick up strategies for challenging issues, behaviours or situations and learn how to improve your general wellbeing. Classes take place every Tuesday from 11am to 1pm and Thursday from 2pm to 4pm.

Schedule for August 2014
Team Offering People Advice and Support (TOPAZ)|5th August| 11am-1pm
TOPAZ is a team of social workers, occupational therapists and community workers who support the people of Lambeth with a wide variety of services, including counselling, benefits advice, housing support and day services. Come along and see what TOPAZ can mean for you!

Dealing with Professionals-how to make the system work for you!|7th August| 2pm-4pm
Ever felt frustrated with your care coordinator or social worker? Find official meetings make you anxious? Tara Logan-Shand will work through ways to support you to gain confidence to speak up in meetings and have your view heard

Benefits Advice with Kamal Patel from the Department of Work and Pensions|12th August| 11am-1pm
Kamal Patel is on hand to explain how the benefits system works and to answer any questions you may have about your entitlement to state benefits

Ways to Work Towards Wellbeing|14th August| 2pm-4pm
Wellbeing is about living in a way that is good for you and for those around you. In this session we’ll be looking at the various ways to improve your physical and mental wellbeing, discussing food and mood, exercise, connecting with others and creativity. Find out what works for you!

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

and Sunil Chauhan
Self Advocacy Project Administrator

tel: 020 7701 2696
mobile: 0798 565 8443

Important external events you should know about:

Public workshops by Disability Advice Service Lambeth
There are 3 public workshops to which all are welcome – disabled and older people and carers, representatives of organisations and community groups, individual professionals and general members of the public. There is no need to book but contact details are given below for each workshop if you need more information. We hope that someone from your organisation can come to one of these events and that you can also spread the word to others.
The workshops are:
Tuesday 17th June, 3 – 5pm at  ‘We are 336’, 336 Brixton Road, SW9 7AA
Contact: David Strong, Disability Advice Service Lambeth  
Tuesday 17th June, 6 – 8pm at Lambeth Town Hall (Room 8), Acre Lane, SW2
Contacts:  Paul Davis  and Katy Briggs, Lambeth Council
Monday 23rd June, 11am – 1pm at Streatham Library, 63 Streatham Road, SW16
Contact: Robert Hill, Lambeth Mencap

Southwark and Lambeth Integrated Care Citizen’s Forum
Do come along to get involved in the development of health and social care in Southwark and Lambeth.
•    Hear about opportunities to coproduce new ways of working for health and social care
•    Bring your ideas and experiences to help shape services
•    Discuss how communities can get more involved
The Citizens’ Forum will include workshops and discussion groups, with lots of opportunities to get involved at the Forum itself and in future developments.
Thursday 3 July from 6.00pm to 9.00pm. The Citizens’ Forum will be at 336 Brixton Road, London SW9 7AA.
There is no need to book – you can just turn up on the evening.
If you have any specific communications or access requirements, do let us know. You can phone us on 020 7188 7188 Ext. 55185 or email us on

Mindapples free training for mental health service users
Mindapples is offering local users of mental health services an opportunity to take their course on wellbeing, mental effectiveness and resilience. This training hasn’t previously been available to the public so this is a great opportunity to get some free support, have fun and help Mindapples improve their services all at the same time.

The training is free so all you need to do is commit to coming to eight one hour group sessions, one per week, in central London, and also fill in three questionnaires to help the University of York evaluate the programme (you’ll get a £10 high street voucher for each one). Some support may possibly be available for travel expenses.There are two courses, one starting at the end of June and the other October/November.

For more information see, and you can watch this talk to get a flavour of the training:

Sign up here now: or email to register your interest.

For more upcoming events, visit this website:

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