Four day art and music event raising funds to help neurodivergent youngsters in memory of Margate teen Stefan Kluibenschadl

Stefan was kind, funny and talented

A four-day art event and club night will raise money to provide creative, therapeutic services for neurodivergent young people in Thanet in memory of a Margate teenager who died after being failed by the system.

Kind and talented Stefan Kluibenschadl was just 15 when his life ended after health services failed to provide appropriate help as he struggled with increasing low moods and anxiety.

On May 6, Stefan, who was diagnosed with high functioning autism, would have turned 18 and parents Emma and Tristan are marking the day with the Stefan’s Acts of Kindness Fund [STAK] event at Ark Cliftonville.

The creative fundraiser will take place between May 3- May 6. On May 3, there will be a ticketed club night at Justines in Margate, with a live band and singers from Inner Artists UK.

There will also be an art exhibition and sale at Ark, with artwork donated from more than 40 artists including Anthony Giles, Kate Malone, Angela Malone, Margo in Margate, Hayden Kays, and many others.

On May 5 there will be a later showing at Ark with music from Inner Artists UK and live poetry. There are also more than 30 raffle prizes, which have been donated by local businesses.

All the profit raised from the events will be used to provide the therapeutic services and also deliver training on Autism and mental health, to raise greater awareness and understanding.

Stefan and mum Emma

After Stefan was diagnosed at the age of six, Emma and Tristan undertook a lengthy battle with the Kent local authority to secure a statutory Education and Health Care Plan (ECHP). He was subsequently also diagnosed with severe dyslexia.

Stefan attended Laleham Gap but he became disillusioned with school during the pandemic and the one-to-one support he was receiving was reduced to remote contact.

In 2020, Stefan started working at the weekends and during holidays. Sadly he resigned after telling his parents and his school that there had been problems after it was discovered that he attended a Special Educational Needs school and  he had autism.

Despite Stefan’s parents and GP trying to secure support as the youngster struggled with low moods and anxiety, Kent & Medway Integrated Care Board (formerly CCG), failed to provide this and in March 2022, Stefan tragically died.

Emma said: “Stefan was a really kind and thoughtful boy who loved skateboarding, archery, rock music and cooking. He was always really kind from a young child. He would give his lunch away to people on the street, who didn’t have anything. He would support all the children at school, who were wandering around on their own, and play football with them.

“STAK.life (Stefan’s Acts of Kindness), emerged after many parents contacted us after Stefan died to share their stories of how Stefan had been kind and caring to their children at school and helped them feel noticed and seen, when they felt lonely and sad.

“So, we decided that we would continue Stefan’s legacy for kind acts. Initially, we raised money through smaller local events and used the money to fund local needs.

“We used the money to pay for a child’s counselling, paid for a teen to go to the gym as it was helping with his mental health, paid for a young girl’s horse-riding lessons, who is struggling with anxiety. We then decided to turn this into amore targeted and more consistent offer of support in Thanet.

“The CIC (community interest company) is still in its infancy, but we are hoping to have four trading parts, one will be fundraising and events, then training for professionals, parents and businesses on Autism and Mental Health, also awareness raising and talks on neurodiversity and neuro -affirming practices and then workshops and groups that provide creative, therapeutic support for neurodivergent young people and those people experiencing grief and loss in Thanet.”

The couple continue to campaign for change and improvement in services for neurodivergent people in Kent and Medway and beyond, in honour of Stefan.

Tickets will be available on Eventbrite shortly.

Find out more on the STAK.life facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/stak.life.2024

Or email [email protected]

Samaritans’ helpline:

When life is difficult, Samaritans can be contacted – day or night, 365 days a year.

You can call them for free on 116 123, email them at [email protected], or visit www.samaritans.org to find your nearest branch.

1 Comment

  1. Clearly a kind, gentle, sensitive and loving soul gone far too soon. Subjected to the cruel ignorance of some and a lack of support but still found time to think of others. What a wonderful way to celebrate his short life and gentle, caring nature STAK Life is. Brilliant

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