Business Model: Star Wards

Star Wards helps staff on mental health wards in hospitals to develop services to improve their morale and relationships with patients.

Star Wards
Star Wards

Star Wards, which began five years ago, emerged out the experiences of its founder, Marion Janner, who suffers from borderline personality disorder and has been admitted to hospital on several occasions. It works in collaboration with mental health wards to establish staff-led programmes that enable employees to work together.

"Staff in mental health wards can often have difficulty engaging with patients," Janner says. "They've often suffered from low morale and aren't sure how to deal with the people they work with. We provide staff with a forum to discuss what happens on their wards."

The service is free to public sector workers and is funded by grants from the Department of Health and several charities, and fees paid by private hospitals. Janner also receives personal therapy support, funded by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, to allow her to run the business.

Because of Janner's mental health difficulties, the social enterprise operates part-time. She says the limits on the amount of work she can do have led to a minimalist business model.

"The purpose of Star Wards is to facilitate, not dictate," she says. "All our resources are designed to enable staff to adapt them in ways that best meet the wards' needs. We've received positive feedback from staff who feel they've been empowered by our involvement."

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