14 Dec

Star Wards Newsletter – Christmas 2016


Welcome back to the Winter 2016 edition of Imagine, the Star Wards Newsletter dedicated to our members!

It’s been a tough year, folks. I suspect that many people come to the end of 2016 with relief and some concerns for the future. You won’t need me to put any detail into those sentences, and I’m not going to as I want to say something else. Something that I think is more important.

In this packed wintery edition of Imagine you will find:

> A Full Monty Award First

> Wellbeing on Watermead

> Frost Free Winter Activities

News from Star Ward HQ including;

> Go Nina!, The FAB Awards

> Highlights from The Learning Disability Practice Conference

> Marvellous.Care, ‘Animals in Mental Health

> and a picture of Sam dressed as a Fairy!

This year at Star Wards we have launched new resources aimed at helping Child and Adolescent services and clients with Learning Disabilities on mental health wards (more on this later) as well as supporting another great initiative to help wards be safer called (rather imaginatively) “Safewards”. Given the present zeitgeist and the demands placed on you, our supporters, it would have been no surprise if our efforts had received a muted and cautious response. And did they? Not a bit of it. You have responded with your usual appreciation and heroic desire. You have assisted us at every step, continued to use our resources and continue to strive for improvement in your care. I have to tell you, we have been blown away with how generous you have been to us.

You’ve even helped us stay cheerful and positive and hopeful. That is what we here at Bright and Star Wards will take from this year – just how wonderful, resilient and fantastic you truly are.

By definition, mental health wards don’t ever close – not even for Christmas. But I hope you get even a bit of time over the coming weeks to relax and enjoy the festivities. Sam, who works full time on a ward as an activity coordinator, has done a great job as ever putting together this newsletter. I hope it brings you some festive cheer.

We make a promise to you that in 2017 we are going to work even harder including improving our existing and new resources, developing more connection with you and among you and to be there in your corner as, this year, you have been in ours. The best wishes of the season to you and yours and, whatever happens, we will face 2017 – together.


“Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers, but to be fearless in facing them.

Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain, but for the heart to conquer it.”

– Rabindranath Tagore

Frost-free Winter Activities

While others are thinking of holidays, mince pies and what to buy granny, your ward will be a hive of activity. When wards are busy, finding time for therapeutic activities can seem like a big task. No need to be daunted! Here are a few examples of activities that you can try, that are easy to start and fun to do!

As ever – let’s start with Pointless National Holidays

Here is a list of Pointless National Holidays for the Winter Months that you could use; as a conversation starter, start a themed ward day or as part of your therapeutic on-ward activity sessions?

And just to get you in the mood, here are Buddy and Sam, celebrating ‘Dress Up Your Pet Day!’

27th December

Make Cut Out Snowflakes Day

14th January

Dress Up Your Pet Day (or staff!)

27th February

Polar Bear Day

For more examples of Pointless National Holidays on www.wardipedia.org.uk, or have you created your own National day on your ward? Please share them with us! Get in touch with Sam – [email protected]

A Full Monty First!

Back in September, our Geoff made a visit to Castle Hill House, to present them with their thoroughly well deserved Full Monty Award. As a Care Home, Castle Hill House becomes the only care home in the UK to achieve the award!

Castle Hill House staff and residents achieving the award was no surprise to Geoff. In meeting the Castle Hill staff team he was able to see how their enthusiasm, compassion and excellence in their care towards residents helped them achieve their Full Monty Award and become Our First ‘Star Home’

Here you can read all about Geoff’s visit to Castle Hill House and find out about his humbling meeting with ‘the fantastic’ Maria, Janet, Jim and Roy, who are Castle Hill House residents.

Wellbeing on Watermead Ward

Encouraging patients and staff to live Healthier Lifestyles can seem like a tall order! However, as we always say small changes can make a big difference. This is what staff on Watermead Ward (Leicester) were keen to promote in their ‘Wellbeing on Watermead’ and ‘Wonderful You’ days.

Featuring topics such as: Stop Smoking; Healthy Eating; Staying Hydrated and Getting Active, staff on the ward recently organised two days of wellbeing events. On both days, the morning session was dedicated to a ‘Wellbeing Drop-In Clinic’ hosted by Healthcare Support Workers (or Ward Stars as we like to call them); Caroline Shepherd & Charlotte Peel. These amazing ladies were supported by a number of services including: Occupational Therapy; Recovery College & Pharmacy. The afternoon sessions were dedicated fabulous activities such as a ward Table Tennis Tournament, Football Sessions and African Drumming.

If you would like to find out more about the wellbeing days on Watermead Ward, follow @LPTOTBradgate on Twitter. You can also email Sam; [email protected] – and please let him know about what you do on your ward to promote wellbeing!

Recent Blogs

Getting Eventful

Have you been inspired by Watermead Ward to create an event for your ward? Here is a blog by Sam that offers some of tips and advice about creating a successful and engaging event no matter how small or large it may be.

Read it here

‘Step by Step’

 Our Nic recently wrote a blog for the website ‘respectyourself.org.uk’, in which he wrote about the positive steps being taken to break the bonds of mental health stigma.

Read it here

Langley Green Hospital’s Gorgeous Mural

Finally, it is great when people send us stuff that shows the great things they are doing on their wards. Recently, we were sent this tweet from “Activities therapist extraordinaire in a Mental Health Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU)” who goes by the twitter name “Just J”

The tweet is about a transformative mural for Langley Green Hospital. You can see it here.

Love it. Thanks “Just J” E-mail us with your name and we’ll send you a Star Wards lapel pin!

News from Star Wards HQ

It’s C.O.L.O.U.F.U.L and Caring… It’s CAMHeleon

Are you one of the heroic members of staff who works on a CAMHS ward? If so, we really hope you have seen and like our bright and colourful CAMHeleon website – which is dedicated to the inspiring work going on in wards such as yours. If you haven’t, we have put together a ready-made presentation which is easy to understand and share. Even if you don’t work on a CAMHS ward, do have a look as there is a lot in it! (The last time we checked, the download count was at 600, which gave us a nice warm feeling inside.) Here’s a link to it.

A Little Bit FAB

The CAMHeleon website is packed full of ideas and examples of amazing work from Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service. Those who have seen it love it! We’re so glad it’s proving to be a useful resource.

We are now working very hard to get CAMHeleon out to all CAMHS wards – and we have had some great help from Colin Parish, Editor of Mental Health Practice. Colin has not only published an article on CAMHeleon; he has made it freely available to subscribers.

BUT we would be nothing without the help of some amazing ward staff – and CAMHeleon is no exception. So a massive shout out to Allie Carr at St Andrew’s Adolescent Pathway Northampton and Lisa Harris at Kent and Medway Adolescent Unit for their fab contributions to the site. We had some badges made up to say “thank you” to these fab ladies. If YOU would like a limited edition CAMHeleon badge, get in touch with us about any ward enhancements you’ve introduced based on CAMHeleon, and we’ll send you one!

After CAMHeleon had been launched, it attracted a bit of attention. When we got the news that it was the October Winner of an “Academy of FAB NHS Stuff” award we were very proud that our gathering together of the great work on the wards was being recognised – because that’s what CAMheleon is – a reflection of the great work on CAMHS wards.

It also meant that the Bright Charity was invited to the very glamorous “Fab Awards 2016” held at the O2. As you can see in this pic we’re in our glad rags – and if you look closely you will see our CAMHeleon badges!

Go Nina!

Back in September, our Nic shared on Facebook his pleasure in getting a copy of the magazine ‘Mental Health Practice’ in which was an article written by our fab Service User Consultant Nina!

Following on from this in October, Nina posed very proudly (and rightly so!) with her article as it had also featured in the Guardian newspaper!

You may have seen a feature in our Autumn Newsletter about the Positive Disclosure Phrases that were researched and created by Nina (#MHcarehelps

#LDP16 – The Learning Disability Practice Conference

Talking of our friend and mega supporter Colin Parish (above) – he also got us out and about speaking at two conferences this year. These were fun and funky and organised with the RCNi (Royal College of Nursing Institute). The Learning Disability Practice Conference held in October caused quite a stir on social media. Yes, Twitter was a-buzzing with news about inspiring presentations and highlights from the conference. You can find lots of tweets from the event by searching for the hashtag #LDP16. Here is one that was talking about our Geoff.

We agree Eddy! The marvellous people working in LD are providing marvellous care and also helped us to take some of their skills and adapt them for mental health wards. If your ward is a Star Wards member and has any patients with learning disabilities then the next bit will be right up your street!

It’s, Well… Blooming MARVELLOUS!

Yes, we are now proud to announce ANOTHER addition to the Star Wards website family! Introducing (drum roll please!), Marvellous.Care, a website dedicated to helping you help the people with learning disabilities who are on your Wards. (rest is fine)

Marvellous.care is designed to promote “marvellous care” the name we are giving to top notch care of patients with a learning disability! Inspired by the book ‘Marvellous’ the website is designed to make you ‘game ready’ for a day on the ward.

There are a lot of fab downloads, links to other resources and examples from you our amazing Star Wards members which you may be able to use on your ward- are all found on the www.marvellous.care.

As ever we had huge, generous and impressive help – this time from the wonderful Mary Ellen Khoo, Sarah Kennedy and Dave Williams (see here).

Our Furry Friends – Animals in Mental Health

As a small teaser to future news (early in the new year), we’re finalising a website which champions inpatients having contact with animals.

Watch this [furry] space…!

We’re All Ears

Do you have an inspirational idea you would like to share with our community of Star Wards Members?

Please get in touch! We’d love to showcase your great practice across our family of Star Wards website, shared on our social media accounts and included in future editions of this newsletter so that thousands of others can be inspired by 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!

Merry Christmas