Clap for Heroes: what time tonight is the applause to thank key workers - and who is founder Annemarie Plas?

It is the same initiative as Clap for Carers but with a different name

People gathering at their front doors, balconies and windows to clap for the NHS was an event that quickly became synonymous with the first Covid-19 lockdown last March.

Every Thursday evening at 8pm, members of the public took part in a synchronised Clap for Carers to show their appreciation for the key workers who were working tirelessly to save lives.

Sign up to our public interest bulletins - get the latest news on the Coronavirus

Sign up to our public interest bulletins - get the latest news on the Coronavirus

As mainland Scotland has entered a fresh lockdown to curb escalating virus cases, with the NHS under increasing pressure, there are plans for the clap to return under a new name.

The clap will return as Clap for Heroes (Getty Images)
The clap will return as Clap for Heroes (Getty Images)

Here’s everything you need to know about Clap for Heroes - and how you can get involved.

Read More

Read More
Clap for carers: Nicola Sturgeon says NHS workers would prefer the public abide ...

What is Clap for Heroes?

Clap for Carers will transform into Clap for Heroes and the initiative will start up again during the new lockdown, the founder has announced.

The Thursday applause will be brought back to show solidarity for frontline NHS staff and other key workers of the pandemic.

Annemarie Plas, the Dutch national who lives in south London who started the mass-clapping event, said she hoped the second initiative would “lift the spirit of all of us".

She said: "I fully acknowledge that things are now worse than ever and some people might not feel an applause is appropriate, but I also know how much it meant to millions of people last time, not just to our carers but to our neighbours and communities.

"We all need to stay connected and be there for each other and we all deserve a round of applause for what we have gone through and can expect from the coming months.

"When people clap for all our heroes on Thursday, they should also clap for the heroes directly in their own lives, those whom they have personally found to be just incredible individuals."

Ms Plas hopes for the clap to become a weekly event once again.

Dame Donna Kinnair, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said staff "appreciate the support from the public".

The first clap started as a one-off commemoration on 26 March to show support for NHS staff who were working all hours during the first nationwide lockdown.

But, after millions of people across the country got involved by clapping, banging pots and pans and even playing bagpipes, the initiative expanded to include all key workers and continued every Thursday evening for 10 weeks.

Politicians, Royal Family members and celebrities also joined in to show their support.

When did Clap for Carers end?

The Clap for Carers initiative was not without its critics, who said the event had “become politicised”, suggesting that the NHS needed extra government funding rather than applause.

Ms Plas then said the weekly clap should end on its 10th week and become an “annual moment” instead.

The founder said the public had “shown [their] appreciation” and it was time for the government to “reward” key workers.

She added: "Without getting too political, I share some of the opinions that some people have about it becoming politicised.

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

The last mass clap occurred at the end of May.

How is Clap for Heroes different from Clap for Carers?

This time around, the movement has been refreshed to widen its message to recognise all of the people who have played a role in the fight against the virus.

While the new national tribute will continue to "celebrate" the work of NHS and care workers, it will also pay tribute to the other people who have kept the country running during the pandemic, like delivery drivers, postal workers, emergency services, teachers and scientists.

People will also be encouraged to clap for any heroes “directly in their own lives”, such as parents who have been home-schooling children, grandparents that have shown resilience and those carrying out their own charity efforts.

Ms Plas said: "We all need to stay connected and be there for each other and we all deserve a round of applause for what we have gone through and can expect from the coming months.

"When people clap for all our heroes on Thursday, they should also clap for the heroes directly in their own lives, those whom they have personally found to be just incredible individuals."

When is the new Clap for Heroes?

Clap for Heroes will take place at 8pm, on Thursday 7 January.

People will be encouraged to safely take to their doorsteps, balconies, gardens and windows to either clap, bang pots and pans or play instruments to commemorate those still heading to work during the lockdown.