Christmas Newsletter 2018

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Welcome to the Christmas 2018 edition of Imagine, the Star Wards Newsletter dedicated to our members!


Bright on the road in 2018.

In what way is Bright like a rock band? The answer is, of course, that in recent years we have been hitting the road to reengage with supporters of Star Wards and CAMHeleon and support our sister band, Safewards.

So, for us, 2018 was like a big, random, yearlong tour of great people doing great things. Be assured we were not seen biting the heads off bats or throwing TVs out of hotel windows. The worst we ever did was over pat the therapy dog or help ourselves to the biggest slice of cake.

So here are the Bright UK and Europe Tour Gigs for 2018 with huge thanks to the superb people we met along the trip–:

  • Houses of Parliament
  • Portcullis House London
  • Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust – Berrywood Hospital.
  • East London NHS Foundation Trust, – City and Hackney Recovery College.
  • Cygnet Healthcare Hospitals – Coventry, Wyke, Bierley, Bury, Enfield, Harrow, Sheffield, Derby.
  • Priory Group – Llanarth Hospital, Burgess Hill Hospital
  • Devon Partnership NHS Foundation Trust – North Devon District Hospital, Wonford House, Franklyn Hospital
  • Avon and Wiltshire NHS Foundation Trust – Silver Birch Ward
  • Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust – Langley Green Hospital, Meadowfields, Oaklands Centre for Acute Care
  • Broadmoor Hospital – Chepstow Ward
  • Talk 1st, Northumberland Tyne and Weir NHS Foundation trust
  • Talk 1st, Tees, Esk and Weir Valley NHS Foundation Trust
  • Elysium Healthcare – Safewards group.
  • NHS Lothian – Safewards group.
  • Irish Health Service Executive Wards – Ennis, Limerick and Dublin
  • Irish Institute of Mental Health Nurses, Dublin.
  • Mental Health Services, Region of Southern Denmark
  • Horatio Nursing Conference- the Faroe Isles
  • The Unite Union/Mental Health Nurses Association conference.
  • Middlesex University – MHProud conference
  • Care Quality Commission- Hospital Inspection teams.
  • City University – Mental health Research Team
  • Royal College of Psychiatry.
  • Royal College of Nursing.
  • British Psychological Society.

There are some organisations we didn’t get to see this year, but who can be seen on social media playing the backlog of our old hits. In this, we should give massive credit to NAViGO in Grimsby who have been one of our biggest fans for quite a while now.

In 2018 NAViGO and another fab bunch and Star Wards groupies – Northumberland Tyne and Weir NHS Foundation Trust – were perfect hosts for an Australian Bright Fan, Nurse Consultant Melissa Angelone. Mel was kind enough to tell us all about it and we thank the ever lovely Ellie Walsh and Marie Smith from NTW who were the perfect hosts.

Talking of NTW – have you SEEN the “Talk 1st program me helping wards be the best they can be! It is amazing!

Talking of great Bright people, we would like to give a huge shout out to Omar Limbada who has inspired a budding Bright fan club in Barnet Enfield and Haringey NHS Foundation Trust. Looking forwards to linking up with him and the lovely Margaret Southcote in 2019.

2018 also saw the irrepressible Ellie Walsh of NAViGO fundraise for us with the help of sister Gwen-O. Along with Rachael Levett and Pennine Vavarides of London, they were our star fundraisers – and we hear there are more plans for 2019!

While on the road we picked up a couple of new and fresh Bright Associates backing singers-

  • Iris Benson MBE, Boss Queen for Liverpool with a heart as big as a suitcase.
  • Raf Hamaizia, North London dynamo with a mouth as big as a suitcase (only kidding – this young man is a star of the future. You heard it here!). Here is a video Raf made and stars in that I think is really worth the watch.

We also brought an aging star warder out of retirement!  The incredible psychologist, Dr John Hanna who helped us with the very first Star Wards publication is now back on stage with us. John is now working with us on exciting projects including an adaption of “Understanding Psychosis” for the British Psychological Society. If you haven’t seen the original by Anne Cooke (another friend and psychologist) we highly recommend it.

In 2018 we assisted, contributed to and commented on the Mental Health Act review and also consolidated our link with the amazing Positive Practice organisation – and in particular the “Third Sector / Voluntary Care Sector Partnership Working Special Interest Group”.  Tony and Angie of Positive practice has been an inspiration to us and we aim to do as many duo’s with them as we can.

What of the future for Bright? For 2019 we already have gigs booked and others in the planning stage- but there is room in the diary for many more. So if you are wondering how to make things better for everyone in your services, want to go for a Full Monty or CAMHeleon award, or even want to fundraise for us,  give us a call, send us an email or follow us on twitter or Facebook. Even better why not JOIN US for free, and keep up to date with all things Bright.

Finally, we know many of you remember and love the founders of the band, the super stars that are Marion and Buddy? Well, the very good news is that they are enjoying retirement in the countryside like the Diva queens they are.

Anyway, thank you for being there in these tough times, thank you for keeping the faith, thank you for the music, thank you for keeping our song alive and thank you for all you do – and here’s  to an even Brighter 2019.

Word From The Wards

There are over 600 of you incredible Star Wards members across the globe! We’re always really chuffed to hear from you about the amazing activities and brilliant practice that happens each day on your ward. ‘Word From The Wards’ is the section of the newsletter dedicated to sharing just this.

A Merry Medley

We hope you like our Christmas 2018 collage! Thanks goes out to the following for kindly letting us share their wonderful, festive pics:

  • Kent and Medway Adolescent Unit – South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust
  • Ashby Ward – Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust
  • Ferndene Young People’s Service – Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust
  • Secure Care Services – Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust
  • Ken Porter Ward and the Beacon Centre Acute Adolescent Unit – Barnet, Enfield & Haringey Mental Health Trust

Inspired to be the first Australia Full Monty

Here’s a lovely blog by Melissa Angelone in Australia:

“Earlier this year I had the absolute pleasure of visiting adult and older person’s mental health services based in Grimsby, Sunderland, and Newcastle upon Tyne. After attending a conference in Australia where Geoff presented on the fantastic program that is Star Wards, and all the wonderful work being undertaken to support and engage consumers, I was both excited and inspired to visit the UK to view this wonderful program…”

Click here to read more

News From Star Wards HQ


Nic Higham here with a CAMHeleon update. If you don’t already know, CAMHeleon is our best practice website full of ideas, resources and information on enhancing CAMHs wards. We created CAMHeleon to reflect the key themes involved in young people’s wellbeing and how wards can offer and support these. The nine COLOURFUL themes are to do with relationships, opportunity and self-expression, feel-good activities, supportive environments, links with home, understanding and being understood, safety, family and friends, recovery, and learning. It’s up to young people and staff how they want to customise these creatively and to come up with an innovative project to work towards receiving the COLOURFUL Award.

Kent and Medway Adolescent Unit (KMAU) at South London and Maudsley Trust are the latest team to be awarded. Jena Scott, Clinical Support Worker told us that they’d been working on CAMHeleon for approximately 6 months. The project made the team feel good about what they were already doing well and gave them opportunity to get feedback from young people on how to make their experience even better. Young people embraced the project, said Jena, and it’s led on to the generation of other improvement initiatives.

“The young people here are developing and writing a ‘survival guide’ for new admissions so they have a better perspective of the ward environment. It will provide a good legacy from the young people that have left and will be able to be continually updated by new young people about their views. Our ward managers Tracy Graham and Helen Nicholson have been a fundamental part of the success of our CAMHeleon project. We have had unconditional support from each of them and have been allocated protected time to complete work with young people and our teams. We have been able to create a CAMHeleon display to highlight the themes which keeps them at the forefront of the young people and the team’s schedule. It has been interesting to learn some areas we thought were working well but actually needed to be tweaked and made more age appropriate. To sustain the momentum of CAMHeleon we have the display to prompt us daily and are hoping to incorporate the themes into the community meeting and team talks on a Friday.”

Congratulations Jena, Tracy and Helen and the rest of the team at KMAU.

If you’re a CAMHs ward, why not make it a new year’s resolution to kick off your own CAMHELEON journey? You can find out more about CAMHeleon at

Furry Festive Friends

Here’s a gallery of some adorable animals warming the hearts of patients and staff on their recent ward visits. Thanks to:

  • ‘Sooty’ the therapy pony at Langley Green Hospital, therapy dog ‘Brodie’ at Chalkhill, and ‘Elsie’ who visits Heathfield ward – Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

  • ‘Coco’ and ‘Jasper’ from Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust

  • ‘Teddy’ and ‘Daisy’ via Samantha Cooke at NAViGO

  • And Nic Higham’s cat ‘Binji’ at Star Wards HQ Leicester

Due to popular demand (thanks Sam Allen in Sussex) we will be creating a certificate for the fantastic animals who bring comfort and love to wards and clinical areas. We have Buddy working her little paws off and will post the special certificates in the new year. Some have suggested the furry friends may also appreciate a nibble or two to go with it!

We’re all ears!

We’d love to hear from you and to share your stories!

Please do get in touch, you can even write to us with a guest blog of your experiences of mental health wards or Star Wards.

Thank you for being you!

We’re thrilled that you’re a Star Wards member and we want you to know how deeply impressed we are by all the creative, therapeutic work you do. We hope you’ve found ideas in this newsletter which you’ll want to introduce today! Have a wonderful Christmas and a happy new year.

 The Star Wards team

Categories: Newsletters