Change Makers

Change Makers is a small grants scheme to enable staff of South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts to make a big impact through small new initiatives.

Applications for the Change Makers grant are now closed.

Grant details

Average grant awarded:
Closing Date:
December 20, 2023

Small changes in mental health services can make a big difference to people living with mental illness. Maudsley Charity, together with South London and Maudsley’s Listening into Action team developed Change Makers – a small grants programme for staff who have ideas that could make a difference to patients.

We award grants to South London and Maudsley staff, between £200 and £2,000 to get small projects off the ground in wards and services, improving access, outcomes or experience of people with mental illness.

In 2022 and 2023 we delivered the first three rounds of Change Makers funding, awarding £103,966 to 76 projects. In many cases, this was the first grant the staff member had ever applied for from the Charity.

Priority areas

Projects should relate to one of the following areas:  

  • Improving patient well-being  – this wouldn’t necessarily be about the treatment for their specific mental illness, but about improving the way people feel at any given moment.  
  • Improving lived experience leadership and working with communities this could include working with a group of patients to support them to take part in an activity or volunteer, or it could be a project that provides leadership opportunities for people with lived experience.
  • Funding staff support that improves care this would be staff-related and have the ultimate aim to improve the experiences of people accessing SLaM services. Any projects under this funding area must benefit multiple teams and focus on staff wellbeing.
  • Culturally relevant and appropriate caring  – projects under this heading would focus on ways of encouraging and empowering people in their cultural identities, for example delivering a ‘Tree Life’ programme to engage people from a culturally diverse range of communities, by encouraging them to reflect upon their life through the metaphor of a tree.
  • Trialling new activities – sometimes a staff member has a great idea for a small project that hasn’t been trialled before but has no way of making it happen. Our grants could be used to help trial this approach. 


This programme is open exclusively to staff of South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. We welcome applications from all boroughs and departments.


Applications open 3 times a year.

The next deadline is 20 December 2023.

Further information

Detailed information and links to the application form can be found on MAUD, the South London and Maudsley intranet.

Highlighted projects

Surfing a wave of confidence

Grant amount: £1,950

Southwark Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) were funded to refer 13 children to the Wave Project, a surf therapy project proven to help kids improve confidence, self-esteem and communication skills, enhance their sense of belonging and stay calm.

Feedback from the young people and their parents has been overwhelmingly positive.

One parent said, “They are more confident in themselves and won’t stop talking about surfing. We’ll definitely have to keep it up. Very good sessions, thank you!”

Dr Ruth Wilson, Clinical Psychologist at Southwark CAMHS said, “The Change Makers Fund has been instrumental in helping some of our most disadvantage young people here in CAMHS access this wonderful opportunity.”

Several of the young people were featured in a video for the project: Harnessing the power of the ocean | The Wave Project x dryrobe

Wellbeing on the ward

Grant amount: £1,800

Patients of the National Autism Unit at Bethlem Royal Hospital were able to access 6 months of one-to-one massage and reflexology therapy.

As many patients suffer with social anxiety, they are uncomfortable attending art, gardening and other group activities. The therapies enhanced patients’ feelings of calm and wellbeing. Staff who frequently deal with challenging conditions and behaviour were also given access to the therapy to help them de-stress.

Caring for elders in the community

Grant amount: £400

Many older people, primarily of Caribbean and Asian heritage, are supported in the community by the Croydon Home Treatment Team. They were given wellbeing packages including culturally appropriate art activity packs, puzzles, and dementia aids. Those struggling to heat their homes were also provided with blankets and hot water bottles in the short term while the team coordinated longer term solutions with social workers. Many of the clients are increasingly housebound. Visits from the team are often their only source of social contact.

Using the wellbeing packs helped to build trust, demonstrate care and alleviate their psychological distress.