Season’s Greetings from CoolTan Arts!

Festive Gift Ideas from CoolTan Arts

Still not decided what to buy your nearest and dearest this year? CoolTan Arts has a few ideas to inspire you!
Click here to visit our new online shop where you can purchase greeting cards, textiles, tote bags, books and more. Our products are made from original artworks, beautifully designed by participants and volunteers from CoolTan’s art workshops and produced to a very high quality. You will be pleased to know that when purchasing your gift 100% of the profits will go towards supporting people with mental distress.

Please note: no orders can be sent out between December 19th and January 6th.

Shop Online and Support CoolTan Arts!

If you shop online, you can now raise money for CoolTan Arts at no extra cost to you!
We have registered with who have partnered with over 1,200 shops that will pay us a donation every time a purchase is made. It will not cost you a penny more and it is free to sign up. In fact you could even save money as there are thousands of discount codes too!

You still buy directly from your favourite shops, including Amazon,, Sainsbury’s, John Lewis, Vodafone and many more – you just visit them through the website to create a donation for us! All you need to do is go to and sign up. Once you have signed up, click on ‘Find a Charity or Community’ from your Quick links box, and choose CoolTan Arts.

Thank you for your continued support!

Join us for CoolTan’s Christmas Party

It’s nearly the holiday season, come and celebrate with us at CoolTan’s Christmas Party!

Friday 13th December, 5-9pm at CoolTan Arts, Third Floor, 224-236 Walworth Road, SE17 1JE.

We’d be delighted if you could join us and celebrate the last year. It will be a fun, friendly evening with refreshments, presents and karaoke! If possible please bring some food and drink to share together, veggie, vegan, wheat and nut free options all very welcome. We will also be swapping gifts in a Secret Santa at the party, to take part please bring a gift costing £1 or less to put under the tree.

Please RSVP to or phone 020 7701 2696 to let us know you are coming along.

All welcome!

Please consider a Christmas gift for CoolTan Arts

We’ve had a fantastic year and run some really exciting projects, in spite of severe funding cuts. Please help us continue to do what we do by making a donation to CoolTan Arts this Christmas. You can …

  • donate securely using JustGiving
  • download a form for one-off or monthly donations
  • donate by text: Simply send COOL96 £3 to 70070 to make a £3 donation, or any other £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10. It’s quick and simple!

A Huge Thank You to All Our Supporters!

This festive season, we send a big thank you to all our donors, funders, supporters, and to all the people who give their time and energy to CoolTan Arts and make what we do possible. We couldn’t do it without you!

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

Third Floor, 224-236 Walworth Rd London  SE17 1JE
T: 0207 701 2696
M: 0798 565 8443
Twitter: @cooltan4

Registered charity number 1064231
Company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales reg. 3244552


Christmas Appeal for Vulnerable Southwark Children

Our parental mental health team is appealing for donations of Christmas presents for vulnerable children.

The team works with some of the most vulnerable families in Southwark and want to make sure that all the children in the families they see receive at least one Christmas present this year. They are appealing for new toys suitable for children aged up to five years old.

Lucy Brazener, Team Manager, said: “Christmas is a time for celebration and we want to make sure that all the children we see have at least one present so they can enjoy it just as much as everyone else. Some of our families really don’t have very much and may be struggling.

“Toys are not only a way for a child to have fun; they stimulate them and help with their development and Christmas is a brilliant time to make sure that they have the toys and the fun they need.”

The parental mental health team is a nurse-led service, jointly run by South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) and Southwark Council, which works to provide help and support for parents who have children under five and are experiencing mental distress.

The team recognises the needs of parents as individuals with mental health problems and the needs of their children. They aim to promote positive parenting and minimise the impact their mental health difficulties may have on their children through supporting the parent.

The team will see parents with a range of mental health problems and they often work jointly with other community teams and children’s services. This service is available for any Southwark parent and service users are referred from a variety of different health services.

Any donations should be sent by Friday 20 December to:

Parental Mental Health Team Christmas Appeal

General Office

Maudsley Hospital

Denmark Hill



For more information about the appeal or about referrals to the team please contact Lucy Brazener on

Carers Rights Day Event

Dear All,

Please find attached a flyer for an event on 29 November, seeking the views of family Carers in Southwark about what support and services would help make a difference to them. This will be followed by Southwark Carers ‘Carers rights Day’ event and their Christmas party. Please can you forward this on to people or groups you are in contact with that it is relevant for.

Flyer here: CRD13b

Kind regards,

Daniel Blagdon

Membership, Engagement and Communications

NHS Southwark Clinical Commissioning Group

Postal Address: 1st Floor, Hub 5, PO Box 64529 London SE1P 5LX

Base: 160 Tooley St London SE1 2QH


Telephone: 020 7525 7888

Media: 020 3049 3333

Out of Hours Media07876 448 602

The best possible health outcomes for Southwark people 

Dragon Delights for 24/12/12

DD - 24 DECEMBER 2012jpeg (1)

Dragon cafe 17 December

FINAL FINAL Dragon Delights for 17 December 2012

Christmas can be a difficult time of year for many people, but for people with eating disorders and their families the prospect of Christmas can be horrendous.

Christmas can be a difficult time of year for many people, but for people with eating disorders and their families the prospect of Christmas can be horrendous.

• There is food everywhere,
• Everywhere is crowded
• There is food everywhere,
• People are loud & insensitive
• There is food everywhere,,
• Parties seem to go on for days
• There is food everywhere,,
• Everyone else seems happy
• There is food everywhere,
• Everyone wants you to be happy
• There is food everywhere,
• Everyone is watching you (or so it seems)
• There is food everywhere,

A horrifying statistic is that the average calorie consumption per person in the UK on Christmas day is 8,000!

So what can you do to prepare for Christmas and try and make it less stressful?

1) Keep it in perspective
A good trick is to draw a line down the middle of a large piece of paper and divide it into 12 months/ 52 weeks / 365 days (whichever you feel like). Then highlight the bit which is Christmas. Suddenly it looks very small and perhaps more manageable.

2) Plan for Christmas day
Your daughter or son is very unlikely to be able to enjoy Christmas if the main focus is on food. This year we have talked at length in our Group meetings about the importance of avoiding food weight and shape talk which can make mealtimes seem too important, and almost certainly stressful. Indeed at our last meeting, with the help of Claire Brown we practised drawing on our own resources of calm, courage, patience, empathy, love, warmth, kindness etc etc to try to reduce the high emotions of difficult times with our loved ones with an eating disorder. Several of our families have found a great strategy is to plan to have a fairly ordinary meal on Christmas day. Perhaps offer your loved one a choice (is fish easier for them than turkey and sausages?) Once it is eaten all the food can be cleared away and the family can focus on other things they enjoy doing. Plan to go for a long walk, play games, watch a good film, play some music, do some dancing etc etc. Suddenly Christmas is a time that can be enjoyed by the whole family, even the person with the eating disorder.

3) Plan for the rest of the Christmas period
Doesn’t that time between Christmas and New Year seem to last forever and involve so much food & drink? Again plan activities that the whole family can enjoy which don’t revolve around food. Once Christmas day is over there is plenty to do.. cinema, theatre, shopping, activity days out, unusual events ( one of our families does swim in the sea, yes the English Channel, every Boxing day & they all really enjoy it). Again try to keep mealtimes as normal as possible & then put the food away. Much easier for your loved ones & much better for all your waistlines.

4) Keep those unhelpful relatives in control
We all have a well meaning granny or uncle who will walk in with massive welly boots and trample over your daughter or son’s fragile emotions.

Haven’t you done well eating that meal?
Shouldn’t you eat a bit more?
Gosh you do look well (normally interpreted as fat)
Wow you have put on weight

are not helpful comments and can ruin the whole day.
Brief those relatives beforehand that such comments are unhelpful and unwelcome, or if you can’t trust them not to say something potentially inflammatory, then think twice about inviting them

By kind permission from Jenny Langley, The Tonbridge and West Kent Eating Disorders Support Group For Care

If any readers are in the Tonbridge and West Kent area the support group is a wonderful, caring self-help group run by and for carers.

Living with an eating disorder at Xmas

Christmas acts as a reminder, a marker of the passage of time. It can be easy to deny how long I’ve been ill, until I realise that I’m not sure when I last ate a Christmas dinner, a roast potato or a mince pie.

Food has become synonymous with Christmas festivities and, on the surface that is where most difficulties lie. For most sufferers however, the issues run much deeper. In fact they can be so complex and, to be honest I am so tired, that I’m going to keep this simple and succinct. Maybe.

My first reaction to the season is a sense of sadness as, like other annual events, it acts as a reminder, a marker of the passage of time. It can be easy to deny how long I’ve been ill for until I realise that I’m not sure when I last ate a Christmas dinner, a roast potato or a mince pie.

Well, actually that’s not true, I know exactly when. It was the Christmas of 2007 when the eating disorder unit I was an in-patient in thought it would be a great idea to have a mock up of Christmas Day to prepare those of us going on home visits for the big day.

How can I forget donning my party hat, forcing down a full Christmas dinner alongside 11 other people with anorexia and a plethora of psychiatric staff and sobbing into my mince pie with the refrain “There’s just too much pastry”?

What I mean, of course, is that I’m not sure when I just enjoyed all the food at Christmas, overate and didn’t think twice. I’m lucky because my family don’t make Christmas stressful for me and let me do what I want, even though it makes them unhappy.

Ironically though, the most relaxed Christmas I’ve had was my second one spent in hospital when I was the only patient too ill to go home on Christmas Day. I had support from staff, didn’t have to cope with the distress of other patients and, being so physically unwell was only required to eat scrambled egg for my Christmas dinner.

In fact, I rose to the occasion and requested a celebratory Brussels sprout and, after permission was obtained from an on-call doctor, was granted my request. It was a disappointment. I shed some tears that day, but I suppose my eating disorder was doing its job well; protecting me from a lot of things I’d rather not face.

There are numerous practical issues for sufferers at this time. Do you stick to your meal plan or eat the same as everyone else? Can you swap your usual snack for a mince pie? Will the mere sight of all that food cause you to either binge or avoid eating altogether?

But, however anxious we get about all the food-related decisions, a bigger problem can be the fear we experience as Christmas forces us to confront issues that our eating disorder can shield us from. We have time on our hands which can make us think and, even worse, feel.

Questions from family we’ve not seen in a while make us aware of who we are and how we relate to others. Being with people forces comparisons about where we are in life, work, relationships and plans. Christmas forces our eating disorder, and therefore us, into the open in front of people who may not know we have a problem or don’t know what to say if they do. If that’s not the case, it can lead to extreme measures to keep our problem hidden from those around us which just sucks us deeper into the deception of the illness.

I suppose for me, one aspect of Christmas is the reminder of a root of my eating disorder; the feeling of having failed. I wish I was the mother hosting Christmas, buying gifts for my children and inviting my parents to share good family times with us. I wish I had a house of my own to decorate and room for a tree. But that’s not the case.

Despite the sadness though, I do feel lucky at this time of year. As I’ve written this I’ve realised I’ve written quite generically as representative of “people with eating disorders”. That is because I know what a difficult time it can be for sufferers, but, in fact, I myself am fortunate enough not to identify with many of these difficulties.

It will just be me and my mum this Christmas and we’ll have a lovely time just being together. I’ll eat some of the Christmas dinner and mum won’t expect me to eat more or pressurise me to do so.

I’m sad that my incomplete participation in the celebrations affects her Christmas and, yes, I’m already worrying about how much Baileys I can let myself drink, and not being able to go to the gym. But the important thing is being together and remembering that Christmas isn’t just about food.

Focus on whatever Christmas is about for you. For me it’s about family whom I love and who love me and it’s a reminder of a spiritual hope that I try to carry.

And… I don’t need anyone’s permission to eat a Brussels sprout!

We met Aimee through eating disorders charity Beat. You can show your support from them on Twitter @beatED or via their Facebook page