Project Wingman takes delivery of first Mobile Lounge

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The Wrightbus Gemini named ‘Wellbee’ will be travelling across the nation to provide a dedicated space for the wellness of NHS staff during the pandemic and beyond. PROJECT WINGMAN

Project Wingman has announced the delivery of its first mobile well-being lounge. This lounge allows the charity to be accessible to all NHS staff, without the need for physical hospital space, regardless of where in the country the hospital is based.

This mobile lounge will provide a relaxed, informal and versatile space in which to deliver the well-being service, manned by a multitude of local ‘aircrew’ volunteers reaching many frontline staff. The spacious bus offers plenty of room to move about with its raised upper deck roof; a fully fitted kitchen makes the preparation of hot refreshments straightforward; and it offers outside space to relax and unwind under the awning.

The Wingman Lounge will operate from a fully converted and branded double-decker bus procured from and maintained by SEC Operations Ltd, which has supported the charity since the inception of the mobile service concept.

Paul Chapman, Managing Director of SEC Operations Ltd commented: “It has been a heart-warming experience working with Project Wingman on this bus refurbishment venture. As a company, we are thrilled to be working beside them, supplying, designing and operationally managing the bus as it supports our hard-working NHS staff through these unprecedented times.”

At the end of 2020, in collaboration with a number of businesses and organisations, the charity raised £25,000 which has enabled the purchasing and preparation of the first bus. Stagecoach South East generously donated the painting of the bus in the charity’s colours. Matthew Arnold, Business Development Director of Stagecoach South East, said: “We understand that finding the space to host support lounges has been a challenge and we are delighted to have played our part in this worthy cause by painting the vehicle at our workshop in Eastbourne.”

Rich Griffin from Project Wingman agreed: “Taking delivery of our first well-being bus has been an incredible journey and a huge collaborative effort for the charity; the support and guidance of SEC and Stagecoach South East in this journey cannot be underestimated. On behalf of Project Wingman, I’d like to extend our sincerest thank you.”

The charity comprises a group of current and former aircrew from all corners of aviation, united by their profession and dedicated to serving NHS staff now and in the future, inviting frontline workers to join crew in Wingman Lounges, where the uniformed teams serve refreshments and take the time to talk. Providing a space to unwind, decompress and de-stress during often difficult, demanding shifts, Project Wingman has successfully launched and operated lounges in over 80 NHS hospitals in all nations of the UK. It says its lounges have supported up to 650 frontline staff daily, in each lounge.

The Project said that it has been hugely popular and beneficial to NHS staff, and the success and impact the lounges have had on staff morale has put well-being at the top of senior NHS trust managers agendas.

Matthew Arnold continued: “My former colleagues and friends have been affected by the desperate situation the aviation industry currently finds itself in. Project Wingman is an excellent initiative which allows redundant talent to help relieve extraordinary pressures off of NHS staff. We would like to wish the staff all the very best and hope this scheme can really benefit all those involved – particularly the NHS staff who have been in the most unimaginable situation since this pandemic begun.”