28 Jul


Star Wards was a project of the social justice charity Bright from 2004 until 2020. Star Wards provided practical ideas and inspiring examples from and for mental health ward staff. During this time we were proud to be  a catalyst to change through inspiring, collecting and disseminating best practice in inpatient care. We worked collaboratively with the full range of mental health wards from acute admission to high secure. Our supporters were just brilliant and  introduced any small changes that made a massive difference to patients. Star Wards was set up by Bright’s founder, Marion Janner, following her experience as a detained patient. When Marion retired, Geoff Brennan and Nic Higham carried on her work until Bright closed. Following closure, Geoff manages the Star Wards resources while Nic has taken on CAMHeleon. Here are a few words from the start of Bright’s journey:


“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 



Ugly Mugs

Geoff Brennan – Looking after Star Wards resources.

Geoff Brennan has worked in, on and around mental health wards since the 1980’s (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. More on Safewards at www.safewards.net


Nic Higham – Looking after CAMHeleon resources:

Nic Higham 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 is based in Leicester, is also a qualified counsellor and book author.

Between 2008 and 2019 Nic was a cornerstone of Bright and designed the Ward Stars resources and his great project, CAMHeleon. On the closure of Bright Nic gallantly offered to look after the CAMHeleon resource. .


Bright Trustees who vowed the resources would be there when the charity closed:

Kathryn Hill – Chair of Trustees

Alan Rosenbach – Vice Chair of Trustees

Joy Bray

Chantal Mendes

Lucy Thorpe

Ellie Walsh

Sue Stocks

Catherine Gamble



Bright was very very fortunate to have had generous, flexible and encouraging funders, which are mostly charitable foundations. We seriously love them and so should you. They made everything on these pages possible


A huge thank you to our amazing funders past and present:

Click here to read what The Stone Family Foundation say about us
alan lane





                                Javon Charitable Trust






Big thanks also to New Philanthropy Capital for their huge encouragement and support for many years.