Two benches dedicated to NHS and key workers who are helping keep us safe during the coronavirus pandemic have been unveiled in Epsom.

The metal benches, painted blue, are placed on Church Road and Dorking Road (near to Epsom Hospital) in town.

The benches were founded by Surrey County Council (SCC) 's Members’ Community Allocation, a special fund in which each county councillor is allotted some £5,000 for 2020/21 "to help residents, voluntary and community organisations deliver activities that benefit local people in their neighbourhoods".

The benches feature messages punched out of the metal itself thanking key workers for their efforts during Covid-19: "Thank you to our amazing NHS staff" and "Thank you to all key workers", while images of emergency service workers and vehicles are also visible.

There is an ongoing debate regarding support for key workers, especially NHS workers, during the coronavirus pandemic.

While previous iterations of symbolic support for NHS staff such as the 'Clap for Carers' were lauded at first during the early stages of the pandemic, they have since been shunned by many healthcare workers who say they need more tangible support.

The Royal College of Nurses (RCN), for example, launched a campaign titled 'Clapped us? Back us' that demands fairer pay for NHS nurses (12.5 per cent increase) from the government to address inflation, current pressures and staff shortages. 

RCN have pointed out that the enthusiastically promoted the Clap for Carers events but refused to give public sector nurses a pay rise last year.