Incredible poem shows the importance of immigrant key workers in the UK

A moving poem has highlighted just how important the UK’s immigrant population is as we work together to tackle the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The poem, entitled ‘You Clap For Me Now’, features UK residents, immigrants and people with immigrant heritage, who are essential key workers during the global crisis. From doctors and nurses, to food delivery drivers and shelf-stackers.

The clever lyrics of the poem flip the language that is often used to describe immigrants, and shifts the focus onto the virus instead – showing that the very people who have been thought of as ‘foreign invaders’ are now vital in keeping the country safe.

‘Don’t say go home
Don’t say not here. 
You know how it feels for home to be a prison. 
You know how it feels to live in fear.’

The author, Darren Smith, a content director for Bridge Studio, says the coronavirus pandemic has triggered a shift in what we now collectively think of as an ‘essential key worker.’

‘Ironically, despite being socially distanced from one another we are a far more United Kingdom,’ Darren tells

‘As our friends and neighbours do each Thursday night at 8 pm, we clap for every carer, doctor, nurse, delivery driver, shelf-stacker and key worker no matter what their age, sex, religion, nationality, or colour of their skin. ‬‪

‘We are not trying to make a political point. It is a humanitarian one. ‘

Darren’s hope is that when this is all over and we can return to some semblance of normal life, people won’t go back to their old ‘blind’ ways of thinking.

‬’Of assuming that certain jobs are “unskilled” and therefore “unworthy”,’ he says. ‘‬‪And we ask everyone to remember that we are stronger as a nation when we welcome people of all ethnicities and backgrounds to our shores to work and live and love alongside us. ‬

You Clap For Me Now

So it’s finally happened; 
That thing you were afraid of
Something’s come from overseas
And taken your jobs
Made it unsafe to walk the streets
Kept you trapped in your home
A dirty disease
Your proud nation gone
But not me
Or me
Or me
Or me
No, you clap for me now
You cheer as I toil
Bringing food for your family
Bringing food from your soil
Propping up your hospitals
Not some foreign invader
Ambulance driver
Life saver
Don’t say go home
Don’t say not here. 
You know how it feels for home to be a prison. 
You know how it feels to live in fear
So you clap for me now
All this love you are bringing
But don’t forget when it’s no longer quiet 
Don’t forget when you can no longer hear the birds singing
Or see clearer waters
That I crossed for you
To make lives filled with peace
And bring peace to your life too
Come all you Gretas
You Malalas 
You immigrants
See what we have learned
It only takes the smallest thing
To change the world

‪’Because as we have discovered, at times of crisis we all need to support and care for each other. ‬That is a sentiment worth clapping for.‬’

The creative director and producer of the video was Sachini Imbuldeniya. Darren first met Sachini when he interviewed her mum during the time of the Windrush Scandal. Sachini’s mum came over from Sri Lanka to work as a nurse in the NHS.

‘It seemed incredible that we could go from a nation that needs and welcomes and values immigrants, to a nation riven apart by Brexit and the Hostile Environment policies of the government since 2012,’ adds Darren.

Sachini says that her mum’s experience in dedicating her life to serve the NHS makes this video even more pertinent for her.

‘She was a nurse in the UK for 40 odd years and dedicated her life to caring for people,’ Sachini tells ‘She’s an amazing woman and when the Windrush Scandal happened it hit a nerve.

‘This poem was about ensuring that when we recover from this pandemic we don’t return to the xenophobia and bigotry that we’ve seen over the past decade.

‘We want to celebrate all key workers that are putting their lives at risk everyday and promise them that we’ll never forget.’

If you have a story of a key worker going above and beyond during the coronavirus pandemic, we want to hear from you.

Get in touch: [email protected]

Video credits: creative director/producer: Sachini Imbuldeniya, writer/director: Darren Smith, video editor: Ruben Alvarado.

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