We recently welcomed former airline captain Emma Henderson onto our podcast, The Power Is Within Us. Before the pandemic Emma flew planes all over the world - now she runs the Project Wingman Foundation full-time. In case you haven’t heard of Project Wingman, it is a charity founded in March 2020 in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic, when Professor Robert Bor, Captain Dave Fielding and Captain Emma Henderson came together to explore how grounded aircrew could support NHS staff during the health crisis. They put a call out to the airline community with the idea of taking crew into hospitals to look after NHS staff during their breaks in dedicated lounges. An incredible 6,500 airline crew answered their call for volunteers, from across every UK airline. Since then, they have been offering their time, knowledge and skills to serve and support NHS staff, providing vital well-being and mental health support.
The idea behind Project Wingman was to unite the airline community by bringing wellbeing to those who need it - a goal which is very similar to what we had in mind for our Buy One, Give One campaign. The first-class lounges rely on donations of snacks, magazines, plants, etc., and so when Sunna heard about Project Wingman he realised they would make a fantastic recipient of our donations of Tonic drinks as part of the Buy One, Give One campaign!
In case you’ve forgotten (2021 seems to be going by very quickly!), our Buy One, Give One campaign was an initiative to make immune health accessible to all. For every sale from the 14th of February to the 31st of March on our website or in Sainsbury’s. In total we donated over 34’000 drinks, of which 12890 went to food banks in Vauxhall and Peckham, and around 21500 went to Project Wingman as our way of saying thank you to our wonderful NHS for all the hard work they have been doing over the past year. Various studies have shown that vitamin D supplements are beneficial in the prevention of respiratory infections, and several studies have suggested that it can help to reduce the severity of COVID-19 symptoms, so vitamin D supplementation is something everyone should be considering at this time - especially people whose exposure to the virus might be higher.
During the past year, Project Wingman has operated across 104 hospitals and welcomed 2 million NHS workers into its first-class lounges. If you’re an NHS worker, we highly recommend you pop into the nearest lounge if you’re able to!