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

CoolTan Arts and two long-term volunteers honoured at Southwark Civic Awards Ceremony on 7 May 2011
In a glamorous ceremony on Saturday 7 May 2011 at St Georges Church CoolTan Arts and our volunteers Richard and Maki won Southwark Civic Awards, alongside other Southwark Residents and organisations. The Southwark Civic Association Award Scheme recognises those that make a significant contribution to the life of the borough. We are excited that we have been offered these awards, and that our work and the achievements of our participants and volunteers have been recognised. Congratulations to all involved! CoolTan Arts is a charity run by and for people with disabilities and exists to inspire well-being and creative participation of a diverse range of people with mental health issues through the production of quality art. CoolTan Arts provides a creative, therapeutic service offering rehabilitation and recovery, through arts education, with professional outcomes, e.g. art exhibitions/Fashion shows and websites. CoolTan‟s work is underpinned by advocacy and the prevention of crisis. A national flagship project operating a vibrant arts centre in Southwark's lively Walworth Road, near Elephant & Castle, CoolTan Arts enables people to take responsibility and learn to live their lives. Our public art gallery complements CoolTan‟s portfolio of activities, making it more inclusive. CoolTan promotes positive mental health/well being, bringing about a change in how participants perceive themselves, enabling people to gain greater focus and to re-establish their relationship with society. CoolTan offers a range of learning and volunteering opportunities. CoolTan provides quality arts education with professional outcomes such as public exhibitions, and social enterprise principles. The recognition of our long-term volunteers Richard Muzira and Maki Spanoudis proves that people with mental health issues contribute to making the local community a better place and build a cohesive and inclusive society based on solidarity and active citizenship. Richard Muzira, volunteer film maker and video editor has produced podcasts, films, contributed to the development of CoolTan Arts‟ website, and helps with CoolTan Arts‟ various public events and activities. He says: “The Civic Award is a testimonial to how CoolTan Arts has helped me stabilise my mental health state through productive social interaction.” Maki Spanoudis, a very re-assuring and supportive volunteer who trains CoolTan participants and staff in IT and touch-typing and whose contribution to the daily charity is enormous, says: “It’s nice to get this award; It made me feel like a better person. But let’s not forget that there are people all around us whose altruism is never recognised in this public manner. Let’s remember to show them how much we appreciate them.” Michelle Baharier, CoolTan Arts‟ CEO says: “Gaining these awards is living proof of breaking down stigma of mental health and people with mental distress. It shows real success of disabled people gaining advancement.” To find out more about CoolTan Arts, please get in touch with CoolTan Arts or come along to one of CoolTan Arts‟ various events.

CoolTan Arts‟ Open Day Mad Hatters Tea Party on Saturday 11 th June 2011 1pm-5pm will be a fantastic opportunity to meet the CoolTan team, participants and volunteers, network with CoolTan partners and find out what CoolTan is all about. The event will showcase CoolTan Arts‟ new art exhibition, film screenings of „The Largactyl Shuffle‟ (Midnight Walk) and „In the studio with Maggi Hambling‟, followed by a panel discussion and Q&A. During the afternoon we‟ll have taster workshops and information about our services. Light refreshments available. For a unique opportunity to discover Southwark and the psycho-geography of South London in a new light and completely different perspective, join CoolTan Arts Midnight Largactyl Shuffle on 18 June 2011, starting 12midnight at Tate Modern, finishing in the early hours of Sunday at Maudsley Hospital. Finally it‟s CoolTan Arts annual World Mental Health Day Sponsored Walk on Saturday 15th October, raising money for CoolTan Arts and celebrating World Mental Health Day. Put the date in your diary and join our walkers at 11.30am at the Maudsley Hospital and the walk to Tate Modern where we celebrate with a reception, refreshments and poetry readings. For more information about CoolTan Arts, check www.cooltanarts.org.uk, or contact Kathrin Kirrmann, Communications Officer on kathrin@cooltanarts.org.uk or 020 7701 2696. Reg. Charity 1064231.

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