If you missed out on the nationwide round of applause for NHS staff and other key workers last week, don’t worry – it’s happening again. And again and again.
Annemarie Plas, the Dutch Londoner who spearheaded the event in the UK after seeing it happen in other countries, tells HuffPost UK it will now become a weekly occurrence until the end of lockdown. Every Thursday, at 8pm.
“We will keep on doing this up until the end of the lockdown and are now doing our best to get up to speed with our communication,” the 36-year-old says.
In a show of support, ITV announced it will pause its usual programming on Thursday night, to allow viewers to participate in the event. TV critic and broadcaster Scott Bryan also reported that BBC One, Channel 4, Channel 5 and some local and national radio stations would be following suit.
Plas decided to orchestrate #ClapForOurCarers after she heard friends and family members in her home country, the Netherlands, were doing something similar. And, having seen footage of people coming together for the same purposes in Spain and France, she thought: why not do this in the UK?
She FaceTimed her friends to float the idea of ‘clapping for carers’ – including NHS workers, care workers, pharmacists and supermarket staff. They were all on board so she made a graphic for social media, set up a website, and started sharing it online.
The weekend prior to the first nationwide event, the campaign blew up – the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Victoria Beckham were among many who pledged support. In the end, thousands of people all over the country took part.
“It was a very emotional moment for me as I heard my neighbours that I haven’t seen for days on our (normally busy) road,” Plas, who works in sales and as a yoga instructor, told HuffPost UK after the first event. “It went from clapping behind windows, to hanging out of them, to people – in safe distance – outside shouting.”
“Hopefully it can give some strength and a boost to whoever needs it.”
Plas wants people to spread the word to get as many of us as possible taking part every week. She encourages everyone to stand where they can while respecting social-distancing etiquette – be it doorways, windows, balconies, gardens or living rooms – at 8pm every Thursday.
All you have to do is clap, make noise, and show your appreciation for key workers. It’s also enjoyable to see your neighbours doing the same.
“Hopefully it can give some strength and a boost to whoever needs it,” said Plas. “I hope it gives that boost to the frontline people, people that we’ve often taken for granted. They can see how much we appreciate them.
“Without them we are no one.”