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The woman behind the nationwide ‘Clap For Our Carers’ movement has called for tonight’s round of applause for key workers to be the last.
The first clap happened on 26 March. Since then, millions of people have stood at windows, balconies and on doorsteps to clap – or bang pots and pans, beep horns and blow trumpets – for those who’ve worked hard to keep us safe during the pandemic.
But Plas says it’s time to call it quits. “I will stop with our support after tonight,” she tells HuffPost UK.
Her choice seems to reflect growing sentiment among the public that the weekly clap increasingly feels like a hollow gesture. Some say the event has become politicised, while others are calling for more tangible support for key workers – like better pay.
Plas decided the 10th clap for carers will be the last, as she now wants to focus on building a charity to keep the momentum going in a constructive way.
“I still believe in what we have been doing here,” she told The Evening Standard. “But I thought, if you want to do something in the long-term with it, then I think it’s good to say we stop here.”
The 36-year-old says her charity will raise money to create projects encouraging community cohesion. She’s also considering how the 8pm Thursday night event could be turned into a regular moment to check-in with our neighbours from afar, she tells HuffPost UK.
She also hopes to create an annual Clap For Our Carers Day, on 26 March, to show “respect and the gratitude for all those who left their homes for the rest of us to safely stay in”.
Reflecting on the past 10 weeks, the yoga instructor from south London said: “I’m amazed at how the UK has adopted Clap For Our Carers and how it has managed to connect communities for one moment, every week.
“The round of applause hopefully brought us together when we were all distancing ourselves. The messages I’ve had from those who care for us have been incredible and have made everything worthwhile.
“Although this is the last clap in the series, we are hugely excited about how we can build on Clap For Our Carers and the future that the campaign holds.”
Dr Alex George, an A&E doctor – and former Love Island contestant – said he’s sad to see the weekly clap come to an end. He told BBC Breakfast: “I can see the points people are making: the concerns it’s becoming political, there’s arguments that it’s drawing attention away from the fact the NHS needs better funding, that we need to review staff pay, which I agree with completely.
“But it’s more than that... because [of] what it means to the community as well, some people who are vulnerable, who’ve been shielding, who haven’t seen their community at all, they step out on a Thursday night and they clap from a long distance, they get to see their neighbours. There’s a shared moment of empowerment, of togetherness, that I think really, really helps.”
The 10th and final Clap For Our Carers will happen on Thursday 28 May at 8pm. If you want to continue supporting the NHS, there are many ways you can still do that. This could be through donating equipment, buying them a meal, sewing scrubs, or even paying for a therapy session for staff.
Other initiatives have also been set up to support the NHS, including sending them a “moment of calm” and donating to charities focused on supporting staff.