After 10 weeks of taking to our doorsteps at 8pm on Thursday evenings, the original creator of ‘Clap for Carers’ has stated that tonight it should come to an end.
Cast your minds back to Thursday 26th March.
At 8pm, the UK stepped outside their front doors, stood on their balconies and took to the streets to unite in thunderous applause for our health heroes and carers amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. There seemed to be a sense of collective agreement that it was a genuinely moving moment that touched so many across the country and began to make us realise that we really are all in this together.
It was a great success. So successful, that it continued to take place every week, on the same day, at the same time and each week taking on a life of its own.
#ClapForNHS / #ClapForCarers / #ClapForKeyWorkers was created by Annemarie Plas.
Originally from The Netherlands, but now residing in South London, Annemarie took inspiration for this show of appreciation from a Dutch WhatsApp group she was a part of and saw that public applause was happening there. It was also beginning to gain traction across many other European countries as well and she thought it would be a poignant act to bring over to the UK.
After word of her intent was communicated, millions of people up and down the country began to get on board.
Initially, Annemarie urged the public to unite in applause every Thursday at 8pm until the end of the pandemic, but she has now stated that she feels it should come to an end this evening after it has “carried us through the peak of the crisis”.
Speaking to Sky News, Annemarie said: “I think that Clap for Carers was maybe used with other intentions than what I started it with.”
“My idea was to show appreciation and to connect the communities, whilst we did that, and that is something for us, as it was really important to a nation, I felt that some people might have used it for other reasons than that.”
Critics have cited the politicisation of this gesture of solidarity with key workers as likely reasoning behind the movement coming to an end this week.
Matthew Bolton, Executive Director of Citizens UK, a charity currently campaigning for a £1.4bn boost for social care, added that: “We’ve seen millions of people out on the streets, including the prime minister and his partner, but I think people are starting to feel a bit uneasy”.
“You know, we’ve clapped and you’ve said ‘thank you’ but what now? And that’s why the living wage could be a real, lasting demonstration of the fact that yes, we do now value care workers as we should.”
In a statement response to such matters, a government spokesperson told Sky News that: “We recognise the outstanding work being done by key workers up and down the UK in response to the current crisis. We have provided £3.2bn to local authorities to address COVID-19 pressures, including adult social care.”
“Changes made on 1st April mean that millions of workers, including those with key worker status, are benefiting from increases to the national living wage and minimum wage rates for younger workers.”
“We remain committed to helping hard working individuals earn more whilst levelling up this country.”