Art campaign appeals for public's help to pay tribute to NHS workers

Hackney artist Cate Halpin standing with her print, outside Homerton Hospital. 

Hackney artist Cate Halpin standing with her print, outside Homerton Hospital. - Credit: Courtesy of Cate Halpin

A Hackney artist has launched an art print campaign supporting a pay rise in real terms for NHS workers. 

Artist Cate Halpin, and her "mostly" Hackney team, plan to gift protest prints to NHS workers to pay tribute to their hard work during the pandemic, and show support for better pay for staff.

She wants prints to go beyond "gallery walls", directly to workers, so they can display them in staff rooms, common rooms, hospitals and GP surgeries.

Cate said:  "I wish to demonstrate our love and respect for the NHS and the individuals who make up our 'cradle to grave’ national treasure."

The artist also plans to make one hundred special edition "glittering" fine art prints for NHS workers.

However, the project will only be funded if it reaches its goal of £7,800 by April 8 - and it is reliant on either donations or purchases of downloads and prints ranging from £1 to £150. 

Art print which reads: "Support a Pay Rise for NHS workers".

Cate Halpin has collaborated with graphic design and printmaking studio Pixel Press and Beyond Print fine art printers to make the piece of art, as well as a team of friends and professionals, the majority of which are women from Hackney. - Credit: Cate Halpin

When the campaign ends, the prints will be available to download for free for people to display in windows and show their appreciation for the work NHS workers do. 

Cate says the project has been influenced by handwritten protest placards: "I love the fact that these signs can be made and used by anyone."

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Despite the government claim of a proposed one per cent pay rise for NHS staff, the Office for Budget Responsibility has projected inflation will rise to 1.5pc in 2021, meaning the pay rise will likely be a cut in real terms. 

When asked about pay rises for nurses in Parliament on March 10, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "We owe a massive debt as a society, and I do personally to the nurses of our NHS.

"That is why we have asked the public sector pay review body, exceptionally, to look at their pay."

He stressed that starting salaries have increased by 12.8pc over the last three years and said there are now 10,600 more nurses in the NHS and 60,000 more in training. 

However, when inflation is taken into account, as opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer said, since 2010 nurses’ pay has "fallen in real terms by more than £800".

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