Project Wingman is in full flight at the RFL

22 April 2020

Project Wingman has taken off off at Royal Free London, an initiative backed by members of the airline industry offering support to staff during the current COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak.

Volunteer airline staff from across the capital are now based at Barnet Hospital and the Royal Free Hospital in designated ‘first class lounges’ and give staff the chance to unwind and chat to fellow professionals who are used to the pressures of working in a stressful environment.

The initiative welcomes all Royal Free London staff to pop down and visit for some refreshments and a unique opportunity to share stories with aviation colleagues.

Having been trained in compassionate listening and stress reduction techniques, the pilots and cabin crew can offer a listening ear and advice for managing stressful and pressurised situations.

Kate Slemeck, chief executive of the Royal Free Hospital, said: "COVID-19 (coronavirus) has had a profound impact on all of us personally and professionally, we want to do all we can to support and care for our staff during these unprecedented times. Project Wingman is a fantastic morale-boosting initiative by the aviation industry set up to support the NHS.

“We are so grateful for the airline pilots and cabin crew who are volunteering their time to come to the RFL and support our staff by offering a space to eat, drink, unwind, decompress and de-stress before, during and after their shifts and offering a first class service to our dedicated, hardworking and committed staff”

Captain David Fielding who is leading the project added: “We are delighted to be at the RFL. We know staff here are under pressure and it’s our pleasure and our privilege to bring a little first class airline service to NHS staff.

“We want to offer a few moments of rest and relaxation in our lounges before staff go back to work on the frontline.”