Should Northamptonshire be Clapping for its Heroes tonight? - here's what readers had to say about it

This time around, the Clap for Heroes campaign has seen a negative response from some who feel that it shouldn’t have returned, with people taking to social media to express their views on the weekly round of applause

People all over the UK took part in the weekly Clap for Carers during the first national lockdown, standing on doorsteps every Thursday night to thank key workers for their hard work.

The weekly round of applause came to an end in May last year, but - with England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all currently in their own respective lockdowns - the campaign has returned.

However, this time around, Clap for Carers will instead make a transition to Clap for Heroes, thanking all heroes during the pandemic.

A couple pictured clapping for Northamptonshire health heroes in the first pandemic. (Getty Images).

But Clap for Heroes has proven controversial among Northamptonshire readers, with some calling it an 'empty gesture' and asking for medics to have their pay increased to reflect their hard work.

It comes after last month when unions and the Labour leadership criticised the health secretary Matt Hancock over a delayed pay rise for NHS staff.

Damian Coates said on Facebook: "Instead of a clap, how about giving them the wage they deserve!"

Phoebe LaSalle added: "I am not going to join this empty gesture, it is not going to pay the rent for the people in precarious positions who do the jobs that need to be done, while a certain politician calls them "unskilled workforce".

Northampton's iconic lift tower in St James became a beacon of light over the town in April during the first Clap for Carers.

Others suggested that at 8pm tonight, it would be worth emailing local MPs to lobby them for "long overdue" pay rises for the NHS workers who have been working flat out since March.

Marissa Hallcup added: "If people want to do something....do as your told! Clapping won't stop the virus, staying at home will."

Jarod Roberts said: "Carers are struggling with wages and long days etc... but yea, give them a clap."

What is Clap for Heroes?

Every Thursday night - during the first Clap for Carers - Alfie Miller, then 5, dressed up each week as a different key worker

The Clap for Heroes campaign will not only pay tribute to NHS staff, care workers and all key workers - which Clap for Carers did - but it will also “acknowledge every hero who has played their part through the pandemic.”

Clap for Heroes will take place at 8pm every Thursday evening, and will be in honour of everyone who has been affected by the pandemic, including NHS workers, people who have been shielding, and parents.

Founder and organiser of the Clap for Carers and Clap for Heroes campaign, Annemarie Plas, said on Twitter: “We are bringing back the 8pm applause, in our 3rd lockdown I hope it can lift the spirits of all of us.

“Carers teacher, homeschooling parents, those who shield and ALL who is pushing through this difficult time! Please join & share!”

The original Clap for Carers event ended in May, after Ms Plas said she shared “some of the opinions that some people have about it becoming politicised,” adding, “I think the narrative is starting to change and I don’t want the clap to be negative.”