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When the clapping stops …

Over the last few weeks, like so many around the country, I have joined in celebrating our key workers who have worked tirelessly trying to get us through this challenging and devastating COVID-19 pandemic.

As someone working in the social care sector, my thoughts immediately go to the many care workers working in care homes or supporting people in their own homes. At times, they are the only human contact that many elderly people living alone have. So much has been said of the bravery and personal sacrifice of our frontline key workers and the collective clapping on a Thursday night has been a small, yet poignant, gesture of the nation’s appreciation of their commitment. It has been heart-warming to see the nation united to acknowledge the hard, yet vital, work that is done by our key workers each day. But now the ten weeks are up, and we have clapped our final thanks.

So, what next? Well, the lockdown restrictions are being lifted. Some shops are starting to open, and some children are back in the classroom. We are told that we can now meet up with our friends in the park, albeit maintaining a safe distance of 2 meters apart!

“I question if everything should be reverting to how it was before. Despite its devastating effect, so much good came out of this challenge”

As I reflect on these last few weeks, the impact the virus has had on the country and on individuals, I question if everything should be reverting to how it was before. Despite its devastating effect, so much good came out of this challenge. Within communities, we heard stories of neighbours organising themselves to support the more vulnerable amongst them. Lots of people stepped up to volunteer and prop up our National Health Service.

As things go back to normal, should we now stop appreciating the work and dedication of our key workers? Are we to simply forget the countless stories of selfless acts of service, lives lost, and lives saved? For those that have experienced a personal loss during this time, we know that clapping is just a gesture and our care workers deserve the ongoing recognition and respect as that of their fellow health key workers.

I know that there are many people out there who work tirelessly to raise awareness of what it is to care, so I believe that as we stop clapping, let us continue to show our appreciation by joining the debate about how we support social care /our care workers to gain the recognition and parity they deserve.

Taffy Gatawa, everyLIFE

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