A staff wellbeing lounge set up as part of the Project Wingman charity at Walsall Manor Hospital during the Covid-19 pandemic became a permanent “Legacy Lounge” this week.
Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust is one of 13 trusts across the country to establish this long term feature for its staff.
Project Wingman was set up earlier this year by airline crew who were furloughed or made redundant to run in hospitals throughout the country. They have been creating a first class lounge environment to serve food and drink to NHS staff who have been working flat out during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Airline volunteers have been waiting on staff, getting them a drink and something to eat, and encouraging them to relax and recharge on a proper break, away from their busy work environment. They have also been a “listening ear” for staff who have wanted someone impartial to talk to.
Capt Emma Henderson, Project Wingman Foundation Ltd founder and Chief Executive said: “While the pandemic proved a catalyst for Project Wingman we always knew that it had a life span beyond Covid.
“We have all noted the value to NHS staff of the Wingman lounges and will never be able to know how many people have avoided the need for further wellbeing support as a result of being able to come in to a lounge for old fashioned “tea and empathy”. We do know however, that everyone needs a Wingman from time to time
“We came up with the concept as a way to show appreciation to NHS staff and to offer them some wellbeing support and our lounge has been well used at Walsall. The trust has told us that staff wellbeing is a priority so this partnership that will see a permanent legacy lounge being created will definitely help to maintain that focus. We have loved being in Walsall and are delighted that our relationship is to continue – particularly as the NHS will undoubtedly face challenging times ahead through the flu season and winter pressures.”
Catherine Griffiths, Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust’s Executive Director for People and Culture, said: “Project Wingman has been a really positive addition to our staff health and wellbeing initiatives and we are so pleased that we have been chosen as one of the charity’s Legacy Lounge sites.
“Whilst volunteers have been supporting us through the pandemic I echo Emma’s comments about the need for ongoing support for our staff and I know they have found Project Wingman a valuable asset.
“We have been working together to finalise our Legacy Lounge and were ready for take-off on Tuesday 1 September!”