Star Wards is a project of the social justice charity Bright. Star Wards provides practical ideas and inspiring examples from and for mental health ward staff. Our role is as a catalyst to change through inspiring, collecting and disseminating best practice in inpatient care. We work collaboratively with the full range of mental health wards from acute admission to high secure, to improve inpatients’ experiences and outcomes. About 650 wards are members and enjoying introducing small changes which make a massive difference to patients. Star Wards was set up by Bright’s founder, Marion Janner, following her experience as a detained patient.
“Marion Janner knows the smallest changes can make the biggest difference. After being sectioned eight years ago with borderline personality disorder, Janner spent her time on a mental health ward creating a list of 65 things that would have made her life there happier. This list of practical low-cost changes evolved into the charity Star Wards and is now being implemented in 80% of the country’s mental health wards – from cookery to laughter therapy and of course pets – least of all the Star Wards mascot, Buddy.”
~ The Guardian
Geoff Brennan – Executive Director
Geoff Brennan has worked in, on and around mental health wards for over thirty years (is it really that long!) In that time he has been in just about every position a clinical nurse can have – health care assistant, staff, practice development lead, consultant. In that time he has also had a Star Wards development path- fan, cheerleader, advocate, trustee and now CEO. He even got to hold Buddy when Marion was presenting.
So he’s done lots of stuff along the way (carers groups, benchmarks, projects, research, writing reports, doing inspections, chairing acute care forums – you get the picture). Just before coming to join the Star Wards team Geoff was part of the Safewards Team with Prof Len Bowers in the Institute of Psychiatry which was also about making wards better places for all. Geoff is Northern Irish, has an unrequited love for his cat Millie and is a total nut about the cartoon Danger Mouse.
Nic Higham – Inpatient Care Project Manager
Nic Higham has worked in mental health wards for just over 10 years, both as a Healthcare Support Worker and Therapeutic Liaison Worker, a role he pioneered (as a result of getting his hands on ‘Star Wards – the sequel’ and feeling hugely inspired) to offer more meaningful and therapeutic activity to inpatients. Nic Higham, who is based in Leicester, is also a qualified counsellor.
Nic has also worked as part of Quality and Improvement and Learning and Development teams within his local NHS Trust, co-facilitated therapy groups, and is a Recovery College tutor. Although he continues to work clinically in the form of regular bank shifts, most of his working life is dedicated to Star Wards where he is Inpatient Care Project Manager. As well as developing Star Wards resources, Nic happily designs and looks after all the websites. In his spare time he makes noisy techno beats in his little home studio.
Kathryn Hill – chair
Alan Rosenbach – vice chair
We are very very fortunate to have had generous, flexible and encouraging funders, which are mostly charitable foundations. We seriously love them.
And YOU TOO can help Star Wards to keep on keeping on! So why not have a cake sale, run a marathon or a sponsored walk and DONATE to help us to help you!
A huge thank you to our amazing funders past and present:
Javon Charitable Trust
Big thanks also to New Philanthropy Capital for managing another grant from a family foundation