Project Wingman returns to Gateshead with Wellbeing Wheels

Wellbeing charity Project Wingman will return to Gateshead hospitals for a two-week period starting from this Monday, as their Wingman Wheels initiative makes its first visit to Gateshead.

Volunteers from the charity will staff a converted double decker bus which provides a relaxed, informal and versatile wellbeing lounge for NHS colleagues to visit. While on board, staff can enjoy time away from their workspace to recharge their batteries, as well as enjoy refreshments and benefit from a wellbeing chat with Wingman volunteers.

Project Wingman’s diverse team of volunteers are staff from the airline community, who have been lending support in hospital settings since as far back as April 2020. Well-trained in human factors, airline crews and pilots use their skills to talk to and support frontline staff with the pressures brought on by their work.

Having brought their first class Wingman Lounges to over 100 hospitals throughout the UK – including previous trips to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Bensham Hospital, the organisation created Wellbeing Wheels, an investment in mobile lounges.

The latest addition to their fleet, Wingbee, will be on site at Bensham Hospital from Monday 28th February, before arriving at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital on Thursday 3rd March. The bus will be open between 10:00am – 4:00pm each day, including over weekends. On board is a fully fitted kitchen, a raised upper deck roof and plenty of space to relax both on board and off.

And many of the volunteers will be familiar with QE Gateshead, with 22 volunteers landing roles with the Trust during the pandemic.

Lisa Crichton-Jones, Director of People and OD at the Trust, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Project Wingman back to Gateshead and are excited to offer staff an opportunity to enjoy an escape from busy and intense work environments.

“The Wingman volunteers really help our staff to relax, refresh and reset during a working day and their presence is highly valued to those who make a visit. I’d encourage any of our staff to try make the time to visit Wingbee while the bus is with us in Gateshead.”

CEO Capt. Emma Henderson MBE, co-founder of Project Wingman, added: “It has been an enormous privilege for us as aircrew to be in a position to provide this support to the NHS over what is almost two years now.

“I am so proud of our what our team has contributed in the Gateshead area. I’m excited our new mobile lounge in the form of Wingbee is able to visit the area with our now infamous tea and empathy service as we continue to support wellbeing. I’d also like to celebrate the successful transition of a number of our volunteers into healthcare careers”.