Friday, 13 December 2013

Survivors Poetry, Sat 14th 2-4 PM, John Denham room, St Clements Hospital

Dear Friends,

We'd like to renew the invite to tomorrow's Survivors Performances at St Clements Hospital, Mile End. Time will be between 2.00 - 4.00 pm. Allow extra time to visit the art exhibition around the building and benefit from a few minutes of light therapy room.

Please note that some seats of the John Denham room have been reserved for people with mobility issues, but there is plenty of space for those able to stand as well.

Monday the 16th there will be the last monthly meeting for FEEL. Meet between 6.30 and 8.30 pm at LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, Whitechapel E1 1ES. There will be a discussion on a possible event at the Kingsley Hall next February

For those of you that use Facebook I sadly must inform you that FEEL's profile and its whole data and collections of the past few years of activity is not longer available. I am very sadden for the accident, as it now seems everything is been wiped out. This are the challenges with tech and the virtual world sometimes. 

Luckily most of the photos are still stored in my hard drive and at some point will be available to access in a more secure portal. And this blog saved a bit of our history!

Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

December Newsletter

Dear Friends, 

As the busiest time of the year approaches I'd like to share a few events to keep you away from mad shops/shopaholics. 

The Eastside Community Heritage are having an event displaying "Portraits from St. Clements" on the 9th December. Meet just before 2pm by the hospital front gates for exact directions.  

Eastbeat is hosting a new event at the Kingsley Hall next Tuesday the 10th, from 6.45-9.30pm, with music and poetry. The 3 Bees Cafe will be open from 4-7pm, however you can BYO

The Winter Shuffle festival has started on Thursday, giving the chance to access the old St Clements Hospital grounds up to the 15th of December. There is some very amazing art displayed in a group show across the Victorian building. I highly recommend visiting the light therapy room to counteract the S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and an immediate mood boost. I have seen some radiant smiles, while remaining seated there just for a few minutes.

Please note that some events are ticketed, but there is also plenty to do free of charge accessible to the whole family. Check the programme:  

Survivors flags will be high up on Saturday the 14th in the John Denham room (upstairs in the front building of St Clements, renamed the Living Room for the festival).  The remarkable Bobby Baker will perform "Mad Gyms and Kitchens" at 12pm. (First show is on Friday the 13th, 5.30-7.00 pm). Looking forward to see her in close-up action 

From 2-4pm, there will be a cozy poetry and performance session with a Survivors open mic and local storytellers warming up the air. Please note that there is a ticketed system due to the limitate space. Reserve your seats here  

A brief reminder is that St Clements is a derelict building: accessibility is poor due to its many stairs, only the Cinema and ground floor are fully accessible; there's only portable festival-like cabin toilets; the site has scarce insulation, no double glazing... Be patient and understanding. Make sure you wrap up well and bring your warmth to share, ready for a special afternoon together. 

Wishing you a warm weekend.

Friday, 15 November 2013

November Newsletter

Dear Friends, 

The Shuffle Festival is back next month in St Clement's grounds between the 5th and the 15th of December

Seen the enthusiasm, participation and success of the Outsider Poetry events over the Summer, we have been offered to host another event. Is anyone willing to get involved or bring new ideas? If you do, please come along to the monthly F.E.E.L. meeting, which is taking place this coming Monday the 18th of November from 6.30 to 8.30 pm at LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, Whitechapel E1 1ES.

From 5pm, just before the meeting, everyone is welcome to try out a microsystem acupuncture session as well (ears, face, scalp). 

Looking forward to seeing you and wishing you a good weekend.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Sign this petition, pls

Please read and sign the Petition below. Cheers!
The Sun Newspaper front page carried the headline: 1200 killed by mental patients. This was a dangerously selective way to lead on the research covered, reinforcing the public perception of the mentally ill as a risk to society.
I work as a Psychology teacher, in particular working to develop understanding of mental health issues. I also have a history of long term mental illness in my family. I was therefore horrified to see that the Sun were misrepresenting complex research in such a harmful way, which is why I want to encourage others in responding to these misrepresentations.
In reality people with mental illnesses are at greater risk of many forms of violence and assault from general society than those without, as well as having a long history of experiencing abusive treatment from the state.  By focusing on stats relating to acts of violence carried out by the mentally ill the Sun Newspaper are increasing the risk to patients by dehumanising and demonising them. The SPJ code of ethics states that Journalists should:
"Make certain that headlines, news teases and promotional material, photos, video, audio, graphics, sound bites and quotations do not misrepresent. They should not oversimplify or highlight incidents out of context.
..treat sources, subjects and colleagues as human beings deserving of respect."
The Sun need to review the processes by which editorial decisions are taken about this to include a recognition of their responsibility as a big media player towards protecting the safety of the mentally ill.
We are calling on them to
1) Recognise that they have acted unethically in misrepresenting information about the mentally ill in this harmful way, and to print a full correction to this effect.
2) Make a donation to mental health charities to cover any profit made from this story and to apologise to those misrepresented

Why ARE so many people being labelled bipolar?

The article below is launching Dr Joanna Moncrieff's new book.
Making us think about how people's up and downs, happy and sad times, success and failures are currently dealt with.

Bipolar disorder has become the 'fashionable' mental health diagnosis - helped, no doubt, by the fact that many celebrities, including Catherine Zeta-Jones and Stephen Fry, have said they, too, are sufferers. 
But as a new book reveals, the readiness with which so many people are being diagnosed as bipolar means they're needlessly prescribed heavy-duty drugs - with serious consquences for their health...
Psychiatrists are interested in drugs because we use a lot of them. Most people who visit a doctor for a mental health problem will come away with a prescription for at least one.
Catherine Zeta-JonesCelebrity sufferer: Stephen Fry
Celebrity sufferers: Both Stephen Fry and Catherine Zeta-Jones are bipolar, contributing to its increasing vogue as a diagnosis

The most powerful and controversial are the antipsychotics. Heavyweight tranquillisers, they transformed the treatment of schizophrenia 60 years ago.
But remarkably for drugs designed for a relatively small number of very disturbed patients, antipsychotics are now among the most profitable drugs in the world, just behind statins and on a par with diabetes medications.
Indeed, newer versions of the drugs, such as Zyprexa and Seroquel, have become some of the most profitable drugs in history.
In the last ten years prescriptions for antipsychotics for adults in the UK have increased by 67 per cent - last year nearly 8 million prescriptions were written in England alone.

But only a minority of these prescriptions will have been for  schizophrenia, suggests the evidence - antipsychotics are no longer used only to treat severe mental disturbance, but have broken into the mainstream.
This rapid expansion of their use may be good news for the pharmaceutical companies, but often it's far from being in the best interests of patients and we should be worried about their increasing use.
For while antipsychotics can be useful for those who are severely psychotic, these are dangerous drugs.
The growing popularity of antipsychotics has occurred partly because of the newly fashionable diagnosis of bipolar disorder.
Bill OddieKerry Katona
What do they have in common? Bill Oddie and Kerry Katona both suffer from the disorder

Once considered rare and seriously disabling, bipolar disorder has been transformed - under pharmaceutical industry influence - into a vaguer notion of 'mood swings' that can apply to almost anyone.
As a result, if you now visit your GP with depression or anxiety or if you have symptoms such as irritability, and moodiness, there is a significant possibility you will be given a diagnosis of bipolar disorder and prescription for an antipsychotic.
Worryingly, the drugs have also been suggested as a preventative measure in young people who are not psychotic, but might be 'at risk', and have been widely prescribed to elderly patients with dementia.
And these drugs are harmful. I first became aware of how harmful they can be when as a junior doctor 20 years ago I worked in one of those vast asylums that was in the process of being closed down.
Some of the old inmates were still shuffling stiffly and aimlessly along the endless corridors. They looked heavily doped up and it struck me that the drugs hadn't returned patients to normality, as we were told they did.
I got a strong feeling that as a doctor I was not being told the whole story about antipsychotics.
The text books had almost nothing about the experiences of the people who took them. I was determined to find out more about their effect.

When these drugs were discovered - more than 60 years ago - they were embraced by psychiatrists.
Unlike the straitjacket or electric shock therapy, they were said to treat not just the symptoms of schizophrenia - dulling the voices and the visions - but also to correct the underlying disease.
Unwelcome side-effects: For many people, the dampening down of feelings that results from taking antipsychotics is intolerable
Unwelcome side-effects: For many people, the dampening down of feelings that results from taking antipsychotics is intolerable

They did it, said leading researchers, by reversing a 'chemical imbalance' in the brain (although the evidence never really stacked up - a rival, and I believe far more plausible, theory said the drugs worked by damping down brain activity, but this was rapidly forgotten.)
As a result, the drugs came to be seen as a cleverly targeted and sophisticated, and essentially benign, treatment. It was a seductive claim, but it was a myth; one swallowed hook, line and sinker by the medical profession at the time.
The claim is still being propagated today, but it has been extended - now it's said that large numbers of people may need antipsychotics to rebalance the malfunctioning chemicals that cause bipolar disorder.
The notion that they can restore some form of biochemical harmony has allowed these unpleasant and risky substances to be misleadingly portrayed as essentially harmless.
These are some of the things that patient information leaflets should tell you, but don't.
Antipsychotics are likely to make you feel slow and groggy and they will sap your initiative, reduce your sex drive and dampen your emotions.
The bitterest pills: Antipsychotics are likely to make you feel slow and groggy
The bitterest pills: Antipsychotics are likely to make you feel slow and groggy

When I looked at how patients described the drugs' effect, typically they used terms such as 'sluggish', 'inhibited', 'feeling nothing', 'feeling weird', 'spacey', 'empty'.
(Not for nothing are antipsychotics also used as animal tranquillisers in veterinary medicine.)
For people who are acutely psychotic, the damping down of feelings may be welcomed, but for many they are intolerable. This is one patient's memorable description: 'Beware. This medication is Satan in a flipping pill.'

Then you need to know about the variety of metabolic changes they can induce in your body; major weight gain, high cholesterol and other harmful fats, along with raised glucose that can lead to diabetes and heart disease (the drugs have been linked with 1,800 deaths from stroke and heart disease a year in people with dementia). 
Despite these now well-recognised effects, two years ago the British Medical Journal reported that out of 300,000 psychiatric patients on antipsychotics, fewer than half were getting a metabolic check.
Antipsychotics can also shrink the brain. This had long been suspected but it was difficult to prove because schizophrenia is believed to have the same effect.
However, earlier this month a long-running brain scanning study, reported in the American Journal of Psychiatry, concluded that 'the higher the antipsychotic medication, the greater the loss of both grey and white brain tissue'.

'This is one patient's memorable description: "Beware. This medication is Satan in a flipping pill."'

Long-term treatment can also cause an irreversible form of brain damage called tardive dyskinesia which results in embarrassing involuntary movements and may be associated with some mental decline.
This was clearly recognised in the early days of the drug, but as the idea that antipsychotics could treat disease became more widely accepted, psychiatrists increasingly dismissed or downplayed these involuntary movements, saying they were an effect of the disease and that anyway they were infrequent and unimportant.
But these disturbing side-effects - jerky uncontrolled movements, particularly around the face, mouth and tongue - do occur, and I regularly see patients who suffer from them.
Some will claim that the benefits of the drugs outweigh such risks, and point to 'good' evidence that antipsychotics are an effective treatment for bipolar disorder.
However, the trials testing the effectiveness of antipsychotics on bipolar disorder have been done on patients suffering from manic depression.
What we now call bipolar is a greatly expanded version of this rare condition, which is characterised by a manic period lasting weeks (but possibly months), when the patient becomes hyperactive, elated, disinhibited; they don't sleep, barely eat and act quite out of their normal character.
This is often followed by a crash and a period of deep depression.
The symptoms that can get you a diagnosis of bipolar disorder today are quite different from those of classic manic depression.
It's all so vague you can now be diagnosed as bipolar simply as a result of going through changes of mood caused by the ups and downs of daily life.
But a diagnosis of bipolar disorder can lead to lifelong prescriptions for heavyweight drugs that should be reserved for serious psychiatric conditions. And yet almost all the drug trials testing antipsychotics have been conducted on people suffering from classic manic depression.
This means they tell you nothing about what the drugs will do for people with milder emotional problems. 

Brain damage: Long-term treatments can cause tardive dyskinesia, which results in embarrassing involuntary movements and may be associated with mental decline
Another serious problem with the trials done to test the effectiveness of antipsychotics in general is that the patients who go in the placebo group - those given a 'dummy' pill to compare against the patients having the real treatment - will virtually all have been on drug treatment prior to the study, often for years, since they have serious long-term conditions such as schizophrenia and manic depression.
They then have to come off their treatments to be part of the drug trial, usually quite abruptly.
But coming off antipsychotics, like many other mind-altering drugs, is known to have all sorts of very unpleasant effects - agitation, insomnia, anxiety, restlessness and irritability.
In other words, the group getting the drug is being compared with a group who are in a state of cold turkey.
These flaws mean you can't be certain the trial results are reliable, even for the classic version of manic depression. Given the brain damage, diabetes and heart disease associated with these drugs, not to mention the sexual impairment, weight gain, mental clouding and emotional suppression, trends towards this unfounded and increasingly unrestrained prescribing represent a serious threat to public health.
Other senior psychiatrists share my reservations about the value of expanding the definition of bipolar disorder so widely.
The editor of the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry has described it as 'bipolar imperialism', while journalist Robert Whitaker sums up the recent history of antipsychotics like this: 'Behind the public fa├žade of medical achievement is a story of science marred by greed, death and the deliberate deception of the American public.'
I think it is going to be seen to be just the latest in a series of scandals that have engulfed these drugs in recent years.

'Bipolar imperialism': Several senior psychiatrists share Dr Moncrieff's reservations about the value of expanding the definition of bipolar disorder

'Bipolar imperialism': Several senior psychiatrists share Dr Moncrieff's reservations about the value of expanding the definition of bipolar disorder

So what are the alternatives for people who might be offered antipsychotics for emotional problems? What will work is going to be different for each person.
It depends on why they are feeling the way they are and what is going on in their lives that has led to this.
Therapy might be the best thing, some sorts of short-term medication might be appropriate but most importantly, you have to look at the circumstances. Antipsychotics have not been properly tested on people troubled by milder emotional issues.
They can be helpful in reducing the symptoms of an acute attack of schizophrenia or classic mania,  but the benefits of long-term treatment are less certain, even in these serious conditions.
Going on any drug for a psychological disorder is a serious step. Patients need to be very clear about what is involved. What is the benefit, what are the risks? There's a long history of failing to warn people about all the effects of antipsychotics.
If an antipsychotic drug is suggested for you, make sure you ask your doctor some hard questions before starting a prescription. Such as: How is this drug meant to work? How will it make me feel? Will you be monitoring me for any metabolic changes? How much weight is it safe to put on?
Your doctor probably won't have the answer to all of these questions because the research hasn't been done. And that is the problem.
There just hasn't been enough attention paid to the toxic effects of these drugs and how they impact on people's everyday lives.
But what we do know indicates they are often unpleasant and can be dangerous. You may decide you are better off without them.
Dr Moncrieff is Senior Lecturer in Psychiatry at University College London. Her book, The Bitterest Pills: the Troubling Story of Antipsychotic Drugs, is published by Palgrave Macmillan £19.99.

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Amma's visit.

Amma will be visiting London next week. Meet her for an embrace in a warm and healing atmosphere:

October Newsletter.

Dear Friends,
Last week it was World Mental Health Day. 
There has been an enormous amount of events to celebrate and rise awareness about it and more have been happening this week. Organising and running such events takes a lot of time and energy, so well done to those actively involved.
However very often there are far too many events happening at the same time, a binge really. The thought of the Christmas festivities, already widely advertised in shops and streets. Society seems to encourage binge living that the consequent appearance of dis-ease is no wonder really.
Remembering that balance and moderation are the key to maintain wellbeing I wish to invite you to a micro-system acupuncture drop-in. In this session the the ears, face and scalp can be treated, aiming for a relaxing and rebalancing result; pellets/seeds can be used instead of needles if preffered, just ask. This will start at 5pm next Monday the 21st at LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, Whitechapel E1 1ES
The monthly FEEL meeting will follow from 6.30 to 8.30 pm

Wishing you a good weekend!

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

How would you like St Clements to look like in the future?

Dear Friends,

Please read below Kate Mactiernan's message and take action offering your comment on what you wish to be of the front building at St Clements Hospital, once the grounds will be refurbished.
We wish for it to preserve and embrace the past of St Clements and bring hope to local people.
Most importantly I believe n.2 Bow Rd should remain a place where people can find clemency and comfort, a place full of diversity and where anyone is welcome. Unquiet minds to always find the tranquillity and peace and wellbeing.

Nick Waller suggested to have a Light House for people in mental unsettledness that might benefit of a warm place rather than an institutionalised hospital.

How about FEEL meetings to take place there - LARC can be very cold in the WInter :(
Take your chance and contribute with your views. Thank you!

Hi guys

We Miss you all down at St Clements!

Shuffle is over but we have proved we can make something great at St Clements. Please join us in making this possible by putting your thoughts for community use down online at the planning application here:;jsessionid=E0BC3389B8B2BFD0D85654717A55B797?action=CreateApplicationComment&applicationType=PLANNING&appNumber=PA/13/01532
Please extend this to any local activists and friends you know who came to the festival. The second image I have attached shows what it could be like if we had the whole building and the kinds of things we could run + many more ideas that people have...........??

The first image is what the planning application has at the moment and includes Private flats that will stop any community activity in the evening or of music etc. because of sound. It will be a half-botched disaster and the developers can choose the tenants for the commercial space and potentially the cafe - making the likelihood of the Real Estate agents and Starbucks all the more possible........

You can stop this!


Kate Mactiernan

Thursday, 12 September 2013

End of Summer review

Dear Friends,

It has been a real privilege taking part to the Summer events at St Clements Hospital.
We wish to thank all of those that helped and supported us during our contributions of the Open Mics and all the good wishes from people sadly house bounded. The enthusiasm and participation generated by these events was real heartwarming.

We were specifically requested to collect a film of Graham J Jones performing his new song "Shine on You" written and dedicated to St Clements. While we wait to see proper documentation courteously collected by 'Mile End Films' part of the Queen Mary University, enjoy these amatorial clips:

We've got a little collection of snaps, which might be appreciated by those that were unable to take part to the event. 
Find here the photo album.
The future of St Clements is still decide, so please read the mail from Kate Mactiernan that follows.

For now the momentum is going to carry on with a newly monthly Open mic, curated by Jazzman John at the Kingsley Hall.
Check it out here

Now, after hitting the record of three events within three month there is the need of a break and to slow down a bit.
However we've had some suggestions for our monthly meetings to have an introduction to passage meditation ( and a writing poetry workshop. Anyone interested, please join us at our next meeting next week, Monday the 16th at LARC, 
62 Fieldgate Street, Whitechapel, London E1 1ES (6.30-8.30).
I will also be running an ear acupuncture clinic from 5pm, just before the meeting, next Monday the 16th, also at LARC.
Ear acupuncture is a technique used in addictions treatments, but effective for most of conditions to bring body and mind in alignment. Seeds can be used instead, in afraid of needles, so why not give it a go if you have never experienced before? This is a free drop in session, a little contribution to cover costs is welcome, but not necessary.
Looking forward to see you.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Shine On You - Graham J Jones

Shine On You was performed by Graham J. Jones for the first time at the Outsieder Poetry event at St Clements Hospital, Bow, on Sunday the 18th of August, in occasion of the closing day of the Shuffle Festival.

Youtube video

Shine On You 

We have all gathered here togetherTo share this space and time,You have your reasons,I have mine.Take these precious momentskeep them close to your heart.May these memories last for ever,although we’re far apart.

Let it shine etc.

We all walk upon different paths,Sometimes we stumble, sometimes fallMay the heart of human kindnessBe there to hear you call.Life is full of experiences,Some are right, some are wrong,As you walk through light and shadowMay our fellowship guide you on.

Let it shine etc.

The old place looks so different nowMany things have changed,Our emotions are confusingWe all feel a little strange.As strangers we came together,Now we stand as one.With in the shadows of St Clementscast below the sun.

Let it shine etc.

Dedicated to the Patients, Survivors and Friends of St Clements Hospital, Bow London E3


Graham J Jones- August 2013

Friday, 16 August 2013

Open Mic 18th August and Forthcoming events

Dear Friends,

This is one last reminder about the Outsider Open Mic taking place at St Clements hospital on Sunday the 18th of August, 3-7pm.
There is so much enthusiasm for the event that Graham J Jones wrote a will perform a new song for the occasion, dedicating it to the patients, survivors and anyone linked to St Clements Hospital: "Shine On You".

Loonies or not, everyone is very much welcome to join in for the celebration: we are reclaiming the importance of preserving the site for the benefit of the nearby communities.
Sunday will also be the closing day of the Shuffle Festival and last chance to freely access the site.

Monday the 19th we will be back at LARC 62, Fieldgate Street, Whitechapel, for the FEEL monthly meeting, 6.30-8.30pm.
Come along for a recount of these past two event we have been given the chance to organise. Bring a drink for a toast!

Please, check details of these events organised by the Stuart Low TrustThank you Maggie Houlihan for sharing: 

-On  23rd August there is a talk by Professor Geoff  Shepherd about Changing the Mental Health workforce, the contribution of people with lived experience 
-On 20th September Joanna Moncrieff  from the Critical Psychiatry Network, speaking about Demystifying Psychiatric Drugs  

Download the Stuart Low Trust's August/September 2013 events programme here
Friday Evening Events are held every Friday of the year from 6.30 - 9.00pm at St Mary's Community Centre, Upper Street, Islington N1 2TX - click here for more details.

DPAC Reclaiming our Futures Action

Disabled People Against Cuts

Join this year’s week of action to protest against austerity, fight for our rights and celebrate disabled people

Our rights are being stripped away day by day, by the neo-liberal policies being imposed on us all by the Condems, leaving us without much hope for our futures - or our children’s.

We have been here before. Our history is littered with examples of how our community has come together when under attack to fight - and win. From the early campaigns of NLBDP (National League of Blind and Disabled People) through to the founding and manifesto of UPIAS (Union of the Physically Impaired Against Segregation) and on to DAN (Direct Action Network)- Now we have DPAC leading direct action and a host of other key grass root campaigns working towards reclaiming our rights and futures.

We have fought our corner over 3 centuries. And those fights have brought victories; the Independent Living Movement, our early CILs (Centres for Independent Living) and early active DPO's (Disabled Peoples Organisations) and the significant rights for disabled people (which are now under attack).  They represent big victories, brought about by mobilizing in our communities around our common cause - and having the will and determination to see our demands met without compromising our rights. We have consistently united in anger and celebration.

DPAC Reclaiming our Futures Action

This Autumn, we are asking our community to come together in anger, and celebration again - and to unite around our demands.

We will be launching the UK Disabled People’s Manifesto setting out our vision of how the resources, structures and institutions of our society today can be re-designed to empower disabled people to take part in life on our terms. Disabled people are, and always will be, the experts on our lives and our self-determination. It will be a vision and practical plan that we can take forward in our communities, workplaces and lives to reclaim our futures.

In the build up to the manifesto launch, DPAC is leading The ‘Reclaiming Our Futures’, seven days of action to protest against the targeting of disabled people by austerity measures, to fight for our rights for inclusion and independence as equal citizens and to celebrate the value, pride and self determination of disabled people.

From 29th August - 4th September DPAC and other campaigns will offer a range of activities you can get involved in. These events will bring together our anger at what is happening now, and celebrate our victories won, both in the past and to come.

The plan below is only half the story. We want YOU, your Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisation, your campaign group, your community, your friends to put on events and get involved too. Can’t get to our exhibition? - then put on your own. Can’t get to our direct action? - then do your own. Barbecues, debates, quiz nights, family days, picnics - whatever! ACT - in celebration or in anger! (PS don't forget to let us know what you're doing).

Day by Day: 29th August-4th September

Thursday 29th August - YOU launch our 7 days  of action

A range of resources will be available for your use as we ask all supporters to start our week of action with an online blitz. You will be the ones creating the buzz and the hype sending letters and twitter messages to targets of your choice ranging from MPs to disability charities to the media. We will be producing twibbons and memes but make and circulate your own. If you haven't got a Social Media account (such as Facebook & Twitter) set one up now, link to DPAC ( twitter: @Dis_PPL_Protest) and let’s create a cyber wave. #dpacrof

The launch will coincide with Transport for All’s Day of Action to make CrossRail accessible:

Friday 30th August - Local Protests

Last year during the ATOS Games over 30 local actions took place around the UK Local actions mean you get to choose the target of your choice. You could take the Reclaiming Our Futures manifesto to present at your local MP’s constituency office, spread it through social media, protest on the streets against segregated education, the proposed ILF closure or show solidarity at your local Remploy site (for those few factories in their last weeks of operation). Alternatively, you might want to lobby your local Council on the Bedroom Tax and cuts to local services/support. Oh, and as we know  ATOS offices are still around too….we’re sure you have other great ideas to add… Remember to let us know what you are doing so we can promote your actions. We will be producing local action resource packs but any materials you develop please send us copies to share with other protests and online.

Saturday 31st – Disability, Art & Protest Exhibition and Fundraising Gig

An exhibition and sharing of work exploring disability, art and protest followed by a ticketed fundraising gig run in partnership with Madpride and Tottenham Chances. Come during the day and join in our banner making workshop to prepare for the big Freedom Drive on the 4th September. If you would like to nominate an artist, collective and/or piece of work please let us know (including any links) and we will try to get them involved. If you want to do a local, street or online art protest too-this could be the day to do it.

Venue: Tottenham Chances, 399 High Road, London, N17 6QN
12 – 7pm Exhibition: disability, art and protest
1 – 3.30pm Banner and placard making workshop
4 – 6pm Sharing of Work
7.30pm til late Gig

Sunday 1st September – Reclaiming the Social Model: the social model in the 21st Century

Key speakers : Anne Rae: former UPIAS and current chair of the Greater
Manchester Coalition of Disabled People (GMCDP), Colin Barnes: Professor of Disability Studies at Leeds Centre for Disability Studies

As government and the private sector increasingly use a so-called ‘modern understanding of disability’ to redefine who is and who isn’t disabled it is more important than ever that we understand, defend and promote the social model of disability. This isn’t helped when the social model is not fully supported within our movement. This event will be a chance to hear from a range of speakers and to discuss why the social model is still relevant today to our lives and our futures and to map out what we need to do to fight for it. The event will be live-streamed with the opportunity for people to participate in the discussion virtually. We will also be promoting a range of resources around the social model.

Venue (tbc): University of London Union, Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HY
Time: 12.30 – 4.30pm

Monday 2nd September - Direct Action

Despite the huge efforts of thousands of disabled people throughout the country, it is increasingly difficult to find spaces where lies, inaccuracies and mis-use of statistics can be challenged. DPAC recently released a study into how the DWP uses all of these to vilify and demonise disabled people. But why is this down to us? People should be presented with both sides of the story and this isn't happening. Disabled people are having to find ways to make sure our truths will be heard. Watch this space...

Tuesday 3rd September - ‘I Dare’ day

A day of online action to reinforce that we want Rights not Charity and a society where we are able to operate on our own terms as disabled people. Dare to ask for Rights not Charity. Dare to be an activist. Dare to ask more of 'our' organisations. We aren't asking for Care, we want Power: Power to write the script for our own lives, and not to be written out or written off by others. A range of actions and captions will be available for you to capture in an image and circulate online.

Wednesday 4th September – FREEDOM DRIVE

A final-day march and events in and around Parliament. Four themed 'blocks' will meet at 4 Government departments, central to the lives of disabled people. After handing over our demands, blocks will then move towards Parliament for a lobby where we will formally launch the UK Disabled People’s Manifesto and present our demands to our elected representatives.

Choose your ‘block’ and meet at 12.45pm at one of:
•    Department for Education to oppose government attacks on inclusive education and a return to segregation (Sanctuary Buildings, 20 Great Smith Street, London, SW1P 3BT)
•    Department of Energy and Climate Change if you’re angry about the numbers of disabled people living in fuel poverty while the energy companies rake in ever growing profits (3 Whitehall Pl, City of Westminster, SW1A 2AW)
•    Department for Transport to challenge inaccessible transport, the opening of new inaccessible stations for Crossrail and proposed cuts to rail staff further reducing customer assistance (Great Minster House, 33 Horseferry Rd, London SW1P 4DR)
•    Department of Health to defend our NHS and demand our right to levels of social care support enabling choice, control, dignity and independence (Richmond House, 79 Whitehall, London SW1A 2NS)

Lobby of Parliament: 5 – 6pm – launch of the UK Disabled People’s Manifesto

WE WANT EVERYBODY TO JOIN US ON THIS MARCH ideally in person, but also online-this is for everyone everywhere. There will be accessible transport from a variety of towns and cities throughout the country (details to follow) and there is some funding available for transport but we will need your co-operation and patience to make this work for everybody, so please bear with us and note that while DPAC members will be given priority we want to support as many people as we can. If you can’t get there send a photo or your name and you can march with us.

This week of action is yours. Please take part at whatever level suits you - BUT MAKE SURE YOU TAKE PART. Share our events, resources and actions as far and wide as you can.

Lets Reclaim Our Futures, together!

DPAC web site:

DPAC facebook: (Open Community group- including all updates from DPAC) (original open group DPAC page- faster paced and more opinion driven than community group )

DPAC Twitter: Dis_PPL_Protest

DPAC email:

Funded by:

The Andrew Wainwright Reform Trust
Edge Fund
Network for Social Change

Supported by:

Trades Unions Congress, UKUncut, Occupy London, Fuel Poverty Action, Right to Work, Unite Disabled Workers’ Committee, Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union, European Network for Independent Living, Boycott Workfare, Just Fair, Anti Bedroom Tax and Benefit Justice Federation

Our mailing address is:
Ciara Doyle
49 Midhurst Hill
Bexleyheath,  DA6 7NP

Friday, 9 August 2013

25th of July: Names & Praise to...

Wonderful Jazzman John Clarke provided us with the full list of people that entertained us for the open mic, last 25th of July. Many more thanks and blessings to all of them: 

Jazzman John Clarke (main compere and jazzy bits)Myra Garrett (talk about original Social Club @ St Clements & stocking & running refreshments table - Thank You Myra!), 'The Mudlarks' (Folk Group- Wendy Hughes, Alfie Tilbean, May Savres, Richard Shepherd), Saskia & Lily (two young sisters who sang song ' Down in the Dumps', Stephen Wish (Poetry), Madelaine Kenley (Poetry), Eamer O'Keefe (Poetry), Anna Loftus (Poem), Jennifer Wong (Poetry), David Kessel (Poetry), Frank Bangay (Performance Poetry + Harmonica), John Zammit (Poetry & Illustrator of Book 'Wonderful Ravaged Earth' for David Kessel & graphics on event posters), Mike Parson (Poetry), Lizanne Davies (Stand-Up Comedy), David Amery (Live Art & Poetry + Production of aforementioned book for David Kessel & manning the stall), Dave Skull (poetry and campaigner for Mad Pride and Mental Health Resistance Network), Bruno Wizard (Performance/Monologue), Shaun Merlin (Poem), Shakti Zapata & Emily Purshouse (Dance piece & violin), Music & Vocals trio: Sheila Stocking (djembe), Helen McDonald (vocals poems/songs writer) and Aloyse Raptopoulos on flute.
John Stiles presented excerpt from his 'work in progress' book & doubled up on hosting the Quiet Area by the Clock Tower, where performers were: The Tables (Band: Nick Waller, Gill Bell, Nina McNeil, Steve Morgan), Graham Jones (gtr & vocals), Stu Crane (gtr & vocals), Unique Technique (Poetry in Rap Style), Lizanne Davies (Stand-Up Comedy), Danny Greenaway (life-monologue).

Looking forward to see those above and more on the 18th!

Outsider Performers ENCORE - Sunday 18th August 2013 - St Clements Social Club 3-7 PM

Dear Friends,

You might like to know that the encrusted red gates of St Clements Hospital are now open and the grounds are free to explore for the next 10 days - 4 pm to 11 pm - during the Shuffle Festival 

The official opening took place last night with a warm and kind introduction by Danny Boyle, which is curating the film festival and lives locally, and Kate MacTiernan, director of the current St Clements Social Club.

Among films and arts the festival is hosting the "Day of the Mind"on Sunday the 11th of August, 11am to 11pm, can't get wrong with the numbers there!
This will be a free day dedicated to the wonders of the mind, with the support of the Wellcome Trust. Please check the free events, talks and workshops on (poster of Molly's walk also attached, pls check it out!)

In the meantime the planning of the Outsider Performers, to take place on Sunday 18th August, 3-7 PM, on the closing day of Shuffle festival, is progressing well: posters are circulating and so is good word of mouth. Please note that we have been offered the outer space by the Clock tower, don't forget your brolly/raincoat if afraid of possible wet weather, that won't stop us.
We are putting together a list of performers, but emailing us or turning up early on the day, might secure your act a slot. Maybe we might even be able to find a new corner for more voices to be heard... Help, suggestions and requests for the event are all welcome:  get involved in order for them to happen and have more fun!