Buy tickets to the Affordable Art Fair and support CoolTan Arts!

Affordable Art Fair

Calling all art lovers, art connoisseurs, and art novices!

Enjoy an exclusive preview of the artworks at the Affordable Art Fair Battersea and help support CoolTan Arts.

Buy tickets for the Charity Private View on 11 March 2015.
Tickets cost £25 each. All proceeds will go directly to CoolTan Arts. Buy online here:

CoolTan Arts are delighted to be chosen as the charity beneficiary for the Affordable Art Fair in Battersea from 11-15 March 2015. Location: Battersea Evolution, Battersea Park, London, SW11 4NJ.

The fair kicks off with a Charity Preview Night on Wednesday 11 March, 5.30 – 9.30 pm, where you can indulge in a drink or two, thanks to the lovely folks at Laithwaite’s Wine, and enjoy a gander of the galleries free from the weekend rush. The evening will be officially opened by artist and patron of CoolTan Arts, Maggi Hambling.

There will be over 100 galleries exhibiting under one roof at The Affordable Art Fair, the UK’s leading showcase for contemporary art from £100 – £5,000. For experienced collectors and first-time buyers alike, there’s no easier or more enjoyable way to fall in love with that perfect piece of art.

Be sure to also visit CoolTan’s stand during the fair to take home some original pieces from the CoolTan artists!Affordable Art Fair, Battersea, London


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Largactyl Shuffle Walk Dates 2015


Largactyl Shuffle

Are you interested in London’s hidden stories? Then CoolTan Arts Largactyl Shuffle is for you! Join us on our fun guided cultural walks for mental and physical wellbeing.
Each month the walk explores a different theme, through intriguing talks on local history, arts and health. You can learn new things, make friends, get fit and have fun!

 The Largactyl Midnight WalkShuffle has been running since 2006 and is named after the oldest anti-psychotic drug, Largactil, that can have extreme physical side effects including a distinctive shambolic gait, or ‘shuffling’. The walks are researched and led by our Largactyl Shuffle volunteer group who meet weekly to plan the walks.

Walks happen on the third Saturday of each month and last approximately 4 hours.

Walks are family friendly and inclusive and are suitable for people of all abilities including wheelchair users. You can join us for half an hour, half a mile or the full distance of 4.8 miles.

Walks usually start from outside the main entrance of Maudsley Hospital, Denmark Hill, SE5 8AZ OR from outside the Turbine Hall entrance of Tate Modern, Bankside, SE1 9TG.

Upcoming Walkscooltan-arts-largactyl-shuffle

Feb 21st 2015 – LGBT History Walk
Camberwell Green – Vauxhall

March 21st 2013 –Women Walk
Tate – Waterloo

April 18th 2015 – Rights and Equality Walk
Tate– Walworth

May 16th 2015 – Pagan Walk
Tate Modern  –  Camberwell

June 20th 2015 –Midnight Walk
Tate – Maudsley

July 18th 2015 – Garden Walk: Green Cuisine
Maudsley– Myatts Fields

August 15th 2015 – Be a Good Sport Walk
Tate Modern– Bermondsey

September 19th 2015 – Black History Walk
Maudsley – Peckham

October 17th 2015 – Sponsored Walk
Maudsley – Southbank

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Can you help? … Dates for your Diary

datesforyourdiaryCan you spare a few hours to help out with some of our upcoming events?

Largactyl Shuffle LGBT History Walk
Saturday 21st February 11.45am- 4:00pm. Camberwell Green to Vauxhall.

Trained walk leaders and photographers needed on our Largactyl Shuffle
Walk leaders – Assist the Largactyl Shuffle group in registering people at the beginning of the walk and safely guiding members of the general public on the walk through the streets of Southwark. Walk route is approximately 4.8 miles.

Volunteer photographers and writers – needed to photograph and review of the event.

Affordable Art Fair volunteers

Taking place during the 11th-15th March we need volunteers to man our stall at the affordable Art Fair and to promote CoolTan to members of the public.

If you can help at all, please contact: or call 020 7701 2696.



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Why volunteer at CoolTan Arts?

Gain a unique experience with a lively independent Arts organisation!

Get out of the house, make friends and learn new skills in a safe, supportive environment.
All this, plus regular free training and up to £4.40 travel expenses per day!

Benefits for all volunteers:

  • Travel expenses up to £4.40 day reimbursed – with an oyster printout showing your journey
  • Opportunity to develop and use meaningful skills
  • Lots of training opportunities available, tailored to your volunteer role
  • Opportunity to get useful work experience and obtain a reference
  • Safe and supportive environment

We welcome volunteers with disabilities

Find out more or book a place on a volunteer induction or ring 0207 701 2696


Here is what our volunteers say about us …

“If it wasn’t for volunteering at CoolTan I’d be in hospital, or I don’t know where I’d be. The support of the volunteer co-ordinator and staff at CoolTan made me realise I did have skills and was useful, after difficulties at my work. I was signed off sick, and started volunteering at CoolTan instead of being at home, as I found it made me feel much more positive. Another participant said ‘bad things happen to good people’, and it’s true, these conversations with staff at CoolTan were important. The support I got, and the experience at CoolTan boosted my confidence to apply for jobs again. I now have a full time role, and have been offered two others I applied for! Thanks CoolTan Arts”

richard_smallImage: CoolTan volunteer Richard Muzira wins a Local Heroes Award from Bank of America for his volunteer service in December 2012.

“Volunteering at CoolTan Arts has allowed me to learn many new skills that are of use to me in many ways, however, the real reward is being involved in my local community and doing something that helps other people. I have long term health problems and CoolTan gets me out the house, gives me something to do, you get interesting conversations here. I wouldn’t get that at home on my own”
(a regular volunteer who has moved from receptionist to podcasting, graphic design and analysing statistics)

“Volunteering helps to understand the running of departments in this organisation. Wherever you volunteer, if you make posters, you learn to make posters from start to finish. If you do petty cash, you learn how to go from receipts to presenting documents to the accountant. I think you learn here. If you just chat or rest, it may be good for a while, but learning by volunteering is the best way to gain skills, and CoolTan is good for learning skills. When you have new skills you get self esteem, and self esteem is better than nothing. If you wander round the streets you get nothing. If you increase your self esteem, it gives you a positive start to build up to what you want, in your life, to get a job, or to be healthy in your mind. That’s what CoolTan does for volunteers.”
(volunteer, service user and CoolTan Arts trustee)

“Thanks for everything. CoolTan has helped me through a difficult time in my life of unemployment and uncertainty through being able to volunteer and attend all sorts of things.”
(This person has now moved on to university studying education after volunteering with us as an Arts Tutor Assistant for 8 months)

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CoolTan Arts Largactyl Shuffle – LGBT History Walk

PARIS-IS-BURNING-3CoolTan Arts Largactyl Shuffle celebrates LGBT History Month with a fun guided walk from Camberwell to Vauxhall.

Join us to revisit local LGBT haunts, starting with the notable Father Redcap and ending at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern.

Date: Saturday, 21st February 2015
Times: 11.45am – 4pm
Start: North East corner of Camberwell Green by the CoolTan Arts park bench, SE5
Ends: Spring Gardens / Royal Vauxhall Tavern, SE11 5HY
Cost: free/voluntary donation

The walk focuses on Southwark’s rich Queer history interlaced with tales of momentous local Drag pubs and Camberwell’s lost music halls. Talks will be complimented with Voguing workshops, mystery guests, Drag chit chat and ending by Southwark’s notorious pleasure gardens.

 womanWith consideration of the recent closure of important LGBT venues and the redevelopment of  Soho, we would like to use this opportunity to debate and share our thoughts on the destruction of important LGBT community spaces.

The walk leaders wear orange high-viz vests and rucksacks. The full walk is about 4.5 miles and lasts about 4 hours. Please wear comfortable shoes and bring your own water.

Call CoolTan Arts on 07985 658443 if you cannot find the walking group on the day. The walk is free but voluntary donations will be appreciated. All are welcome!

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Volunteer Training Dates

VolunteerTrainingIf you’re a current CoolTan volunteer you could benefit from any of the below training sessions!

  • Telephone Training- Monday 2nd February 1-3pm

Improve your communication and customer service skills with this training on CoolTan’s phone system.

  • CV and Interview skills on 10th February 1-5pm run by professional volunteers from the City of London.

Learn how to create a CV and covering letter and work on your presentation skills.

CoolTan Arts, Third Floor, 224-236 Walworth Road, SE17 1JE.
To get involved 
To book your place, please contact Sarah,, 020 7701 2696


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Fundraising Volunteers









CoolTan Arts are looking for fundraising volunteers with experience of bid-writing.  Help support CoolTan’s development and long term future.

There is also the possibility to assist in/running  workshops in fundraising for our staff and volunteers. Work can be done from CoolTan’s office or remotely.

If you can help at all, please get in contact with Sarah,    Tel: 0207 701 2696.

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Volunteer with CoolTan’s Mobile Gardening Project

Are you passionate about gardening? Would you like to meet and work with people from Southwarkgardening
community? Then come and help CoolTan Arts with our Mobile Gardening project!

Free training will be given.

When? Every Monday from 16th March-6th April

Where? Meet at CoolTan at 10.30am and then we will walk to our different locations each week! We will be finished by 3pm.

Research has shown that gardening can help reduce stress and anxiety and also support those with experience of mental distress – as it distracts attention away from day-to-day health problems, giving a respite from symptoms.

If you are interested in taking part in the project please contact or ring 0207 701 2696.

CoolTan’s gardening service has been made possible by a grant from Southwark Council’s Cleaner Greener Safer programme, which assists local residents with funding for projects to improve their local environment.




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Photography Exhibition ‘Elephant & Castle’s Finest’ – 24th February

IMG_0997-lrJoin us for a showing of photography work by CoolTan Arts participants!

Elephant & Castle’s Finest’ is an exploration of the local area, exploring it’s history and hidden treasures.

Tuesday 24th February, 4-6pm at CoolTan Arts, Third Floor, 224-236 Walworth Road, SE17 1JE.

Refreshments available, all welcome to attend.

Work has been created in street photography workshops which have run at CoolTan throughout January funded by the Mace team at Newington Butts.

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Love Truffles Day – Thursday 12th February

Truffles2-lrTreat yourself or someone special with a couple of ‘Love Truffles’!

Pop into CoolTan Arts on Thursday 12th February to purchase some of our most popular treats.

Made with love by CoolTan’s Cooking Club, the famous ‘Love Truffles’ are specially prepared with healthy  ingredients so as well as being incredibly tasty they are also good for you too.!

Available from 2-6pm at CoolTan Arts, Third Floor, 224-236 Walworth Road, SE17 1JE.




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Author Rachel Kelly at CoolTan Arts

DSCF4795 As part of our Peace Day celebrations we were very pleased to welcome Rachel Kelly – journalist, author, workshop leader and ambassador for SANE. Rachel came to talk about her experience of mental distress, her poetry workshops and her book, Black Rainbow, which tells the story of how she overcame depression through poetry. The event was also an opportunity to share readings of poems brought by Rachel and by those in the audience, including members of CoolTan’s Poetry Group and Creative Writing Workshop.

 Rachel first became unwell in 1997. ‘Everything seemed to be going fine until one night when I couldn’t get to sleep’, she said, ‘I had chronic insomnia for three days. I was coping with two small children and supporting my husband’s career.’ She began to experience intense and constant anxiety, as if she was falling all the time. She became unwell for six months and later had another period of illness lasting a year.DSCF4799

 When Rachel was in hospital, her mother held her hand and shared healing words with her. ‘She shared a line from Corinthians: “My grace is sufficient for thee, My strength is made perfect by weakness”. This was the first time I felt a positive stirring of will – my strength would be made perfect. It helped me find a different story in my head.’ she told the audience.

 So began Rachel’s long journey back to wellbeing, with the help of the healing words of poets. Her favourite is George Herbert, a 17th Century poet. ‘I’m quite sure he suffered from a mental illness’ she said, ‘He wrote poems as prayers – none of them were published in his lifetime. When he was dying he said to a friend, “Please publish them if you think they could help a poor dejected soul” He wanted to share them with people who suffered.’

 ‘It’s hard to concentrate when you are mentally unwell’ Rachel explained, ‘you can’t read a whole book, sometimes you can’t even read a whole poem. I often just put a line up above my mirror to get me through the day.’

 The audience were keen to know about Rachel’s own writing. ‘It’s powerful to think you might be helping someone else with your writing and this is very good for your mental health. It took me six years to write Black Rainbow’ she told us, ‘It was rejected loads of times until a friend said I had to get an agent and recommended one. The agent told me to rewrite it, to “show, not tell”. He told me, “take out anything that doesn’t respect your readers”.’ after that, there was a great deal of interest in the book and a bidding war between publishers for the rights.

 Rachel runs Healing Words – a series of workshops in which participants can share the poems that have helped her and can also bring their own to share. ‘The Ancient Greeks used poetry. Apollo was god of both healing and poetry. Shamans also used affirmations and healing mantras to help people find a different narrative,’ she says.’There is something healing and consoling in poetry. I do a four-part workshop, the first part focuses on understanding darkness and despair. I share five or six poems in each workshop and people all respond differently. The workshops follow an arc from dark to light. We work through “ordinary human unhappiness” as Freud called it.’

 We hope very much that Rachel will return to CoolTan Arts soon to run some workshops. Her book, Black Rainbow, which won the prize for Best First Book at the 2014 Spear’s Book Award, is available from Yellow Kite, priced £8.99. Rachel has kindly donated some copies to CoolTan Arts, these are for sale for a minimum donation of £1. Drop by and pick one up!





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Volunteering Opportunities on the LGBT Largactyl Shuffle Walk!

lgbt history month February is LGBT History Month and every year we lead a walk through London Borough of Southwark to tell the hidden histories of local LGBT figures.  The aim of our walks is to break down stigma experienced by people with mental distress and encourage people to exercise.
Our planning meetings take place on Tuesday, 2pm – 4pm and our walks take place on the third Saturday of each month.
We are particularly keen to hear from people with LGBTQ background to support the development and delivery of our next walk, which takes place on Saturday 21st February.If you can help at all, please get in contact with Sarah,    Tel: 0207 701 2696

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Open Day – Wednesday 11th February

Open DayDrop in any time  to find out more about CoolTan Arts.
Wednesday 11th February, 1-3pm
CoolTan Arts, Third Floor,
224 – 226 Walworth Road, London SE17 1JE

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 please email Tara

Open Day photo


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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 Creative Workshops – 2015 Schedule


CoolTan are running a new series of FREE 12 week  workshops from 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 11-1pmStarts 6th January (12 weeks) 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 11-1pmStarts 6th January. (12 weeks) 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 –  Starts 7th January. (12 weeks) 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 –  Starts 8th January. (12 weeks) 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 11-1pmStarts 15th January. (12 weeks) 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:


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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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CoolTan Council

Picture11CoolTan Council – What can it do for me?
CoolTan Council is a group of volunteers and participants who want to make a difference at CoolTan Arts, and in Southwark. 

The next meeting will be held on Tuesday 17 March from 4-5pm at CoolTan Arts.

We are looking for people who would like to develop their public speaking, peer-support and employability skills.  (Training will be offered to participants and volunteers who wish to undertake an active role in the CoolTan Council.)
What can I do for CoolTan Arts?
This meeting will focus on the future of CoolTan Arts building and what has happened with previous plans.

Don’t stay silent! Use your voice for CoolTan Arts!

Speak to Kaya or Tara in Self Advocacy, call 0207 701 2696 for information or e-mail or

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CoolWalks – New Dates

CoolTan are excited to have new CoolWalks coming up in January and February 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.

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.


CoolWalks – From Country Estates to Council Estates
Saturday 7th February & Thursday 26th FebruaryTime: 12:30pm
Start Location: Grove Vale Library, 25-27 Grove Vale, London SE22 8EQ

CoolTan Arts CoolWalks invites you to join us on a free guided walk around East Dulwich and Camberwell to learn about the area’s past, where and who were in the big houses,  and its transformation into the area it is today. Learn new things, make friends, get fit and have fun. Start at Grove Vale Library at 12:30pm and finish at Denmark Hill Station 3pm.

The walk is approximately 3 miles and we would ask participants to wear sensible walking footwear and weather appropriate clothing.

Full details on, or email or twitter @CoolWalks


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CoolWalks Robert Larkin Frost to run Brighton Half Marathon

brightonCoolWalks Project Coordinator, Robert Larkin-Frost is running the Brighton Half Marathon on February 22nd!

Rob is running in order to raise funds to support the good work of CoolTan Arts in providing positive and creative opportunities and support for
those with mental health issues. 

If you would like to sponsor Rob you can do so here:

Thanks so much Rob, we are sure you will do brilliantly!

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