Self-advocacy training at CoolTan Arts

Dear All,

Self Advocacy Training is intended for individuals with mental distress. The Training is designed to help people who need to develop self confidence, advocacy skills, awareness and knowledge about services available to them e.g. Debt Management, Self Esteem and Mental health Act, & more. It is free for everyone regardless of whether they have a personal budget or personal health budget. The dates for July is attached.

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

We are working towards accreditation and hopefully the Self Advocacy course will become a qualification but this is in process and nothing is confirmed yet.

Please feel free to contact me for more information,

All the very best,

Michelle Savioz

Self-Advocacy Trainer and Project Administrator

CoolTan Arts believes mental wellbeing is enhanced by the power of creativity.

CoolTan Arts is a winner of the Mental Healthy, Mental Health Hero Awards as Creative Hero (Group)

CoolTan Arts runs the Largactyl Shuffle Walk every third Saturday of the month and a Sponsored Walk on 13th October 2012. Sign up now!


CoolTan Arts

Unit B, 237 Walworth Road
London SE17 1RL

Main Switchboard: 020 7701 2696
Funny Farm:

Twitter: @cooltan4
CoolTan Arts is a registered charity, reg. number 1064231, and company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales, reg. number 3244552

Iain Duncan Smith finally admits over-stating benefit fraud

by Sunny Hundal

The DWP secretary Iain Duncan Smith finally admitted today that his department was “wagging their finger” and “stigmatising” people on benefits as committing fraud despite their innocence.

This belated semi-apology came only a few weeks after Lord Freud from the same department wrote to Churches apologising for exaggerating the extent of benefit fraud.

Earlier today, while answering questions from the Work and Pensions Select Committee, IDS said people were receiving overpayments through no fault of their own, and were were being characterised as “fraudsters”. (via Full Fact).

The truth is quite a lot of what we here politically term constantly as fraud is often complexity error, which is very easy for us to then say this is fraud and people feel quite stigmatised by that.

The truth is quite a lot is nothing to do with them, it’s the system itself.

It simply means they didn’t understand what they were meant to be doing and now they are apparently committing fraud and a lot of them didn’t know that was the case.

So we’re hoping that this will politically just tone some of this rhetoric down and stop basically accusing people of things which frankly is partly because of the system and nothing to do with them.

According to Full Fact, he also said that by moving to the Universal Credit system, such instances would be reduced.

But it has been repeatedly pointed out that the DWP itself frequently briefs newspapers with exaggerated statistics in order to push their line.

Iain Duncan Smith himself exaggerated statistics on housing benefit by claiming they came from the ONS, when in fact they came from a property website owned by the Daily Mail.

RT via

Andrew Lansley rap roundup

Since we’re posting about Andrew Lansley again today I thought you might like these, if you haven’t seen them before 🙂

Co-written by MC Nxtgen & Rob Gee

First, the original:

Then Big Society NHS do the Lansley Rap

Billy Bragg & MC NxtGen @ QEH, London

British Medical Association Calls For Andrew Lansley To Resign

Doctors have called for Andrew Lansley to resign, saying they have “no confidence” in the Health Secretary.

Medics went head to head with Lansley last week over the Government’s controversial pension reforms.

They took industrial action for the first time in almost 40 years to voice their anger at the proposals.

The BMA accused Mr Lansley of “breaching doctors’ trust” by tearing up the pension deal which was only agreed four years ago.

On Thursday, delegates at the British Medical Association’s (BMA) annual conference in Bournemouth agreed on a motion calling for Mr Lansley’s resignation.

Delegates at the conference voted on the motion “This meeting has no confidence in Andrew Lansley, the Secretary of State for Health, and calls for him to resign”.

The motion won by a slight majority, with 158 delegates voting in favour and 124 against.

Dr Gary Marlowe, who presented the motion, told the conference: “I do not trust this man.”

Help make Chris Grayling mad

Here’s an opportunity for you to help make a minister wish he hadn’t interfered.

Back in March we wrote about the Ministry of Justice’s (MoJ) employment and support allowance appeals video (external link) on Youtube. The video was pulled after less than a week, on the orders of senior officials.

Independent benefits expert Neil Bateman (external link), discovered that the video was taken down after employment minister Chris Grayling emailed the ministry complaining about, amongst other things, the fact that it told claimants:

  • that they are twice as likely to win their appeal if they appear in person rather than having a paper hearing;
  • that the DWP doesn’t normally send a representative to the hearing;
  • to send additional evidence to the tribunal, when Grayling wants it sent to the DWP.

Yesterday, three months later, the video reappeared and, to their credit, after their initial panic MoJ officials seem to have left it unaltered. The video is actually reasonably informative and reassuring for people who have no previous experience of appeal tribunals.

Normally, however, MoJ videos get very little attention – one has had just two views and few of the 120 videos on the MoJ channel gets more than a few hundred views.

If Grayling hadn’t intervened this video would probably also have remained largely unseen. Now, however, we’re asking Benefits and Work newsletter readers to make it the most popular video the MoJ has ever produced. The current record holder has had 4,269 views and the ESA video currently stands at 1,063.

So, please, make Grayling mad by taking a look at the video and passing the link on to anyone you think might benefit: (external link)

11 July: now reposted here:

Richard Mabey on i player

Richard Mabey

The man described as “Britain’s greatest living nature writer”, Richard Mabey, talks to Claudia Hammond about “the lost years” of his depressive illness. The author of Food for Free, Flora Britannica and Nature Cure admits that a symptom of his clinical depression was that he lost his connection with the natural world.

Allotment “Young at Heart”

The Young at Heart Project in Barking and Dagenham works to improve the mental and physical health of socially isolated men by bringing them together for regular growing sessions down at the allotment.


Mental health professionals join Andy McGeeney in ancient woodland, Thorndon Park, in Essex, to learn about ecotherapy.

Lisa on Horticultural Therapy

After many years of illness, Lisa, a former mental health nurse, tells Claudia about the part making a garden played in her recovery.

“Green Therapy”: the evidence

Dr Rachel Bragg from the “Green Care Research Team” at the University of Essex describes the evidence behind nature-based therapies and argues they should be part of a “toolkit” of care for patients.

Producer: Fiona Hill.

Link here:

SIRS newsletter

Please find attached the latest newsletter from users of SIRS Lewisham (formerly COS).