Clap for our Carers event should stop after next Thursday, says founder

‘I don’t want the clap to be negative,’ says Annemarie Plas

Helen Coffey
Saturday 23 May 2020 18:18
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Clap for carers: people around the nation clap for 9th week

The weekly Clap for our Carers event should stop after next Thursday, the founder has said.

Annemarie Plas, the woman who came up with the idea of showing appreciation for the NHS and other frontline workers by clapping on Thursday nights, has stated that the 10th such event this week should also be the last.

“I think it’s good to have the last of the series next Thursday, because to have the most impact I think it is good to stop it at its peak,” the 36-year-old from south London told PA.

The fixture first started on 26 March, and was originally designed to be a one-off show of gratitude.

People were encouraged to step out of their front doors or lean out of their windows and clap at 8pm to say thank you to NHS staff and carers working hard during the coronavirus pandemic.

However, the gesture captured the imagination of the nation and was quickly instated as a weekly tradition during lockdown, with hundreds of thousands of people participating by whooping, cheering and banging pots and pans, as well as clapping.

In recent weeks the popular practice has come under fire from critics, who claim the gesture is meaningless when the NHS has been chronically underfunded, and staff underpaid, for more than a decade.

On 21 May, an anonymous doctor wrote in the Guardian: “Don’t feel you need to clap. Enough with the rainbows. When this ends, people need to show their value of key-working staff in practical ways; pay them enough to be able to live in our cities, and recognise, support and welcome immigrant staff who prop this country up.”

Ms Plas, who describes herself as “just a hugely grateful mum staying at home, who wanted to show her appreciation for all the key workers doing their bit to keep the world turning”, has suggested the clap might now have become “negative”.

”Without getting too political, I share some of the opinions that some people have about it becoming politicised,” she said.

“I think the narrative is starting to change and I don’t want the clap to be negative.

”A clap is something normal people can do, showing our appreciation.

“But the power is not with us. We can give them respect but we are not signing the cheque – that falls on another desk.”

She has suggested resurrecting the event next year, with a National Clap For Our Carers Day on Thursday 25 March 2021.

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