38% of Scots say they are “fairly or very concerned” that 20,000 refugees currently live in Scotland
One in three Scots are concerned about the number of refugees living in Scotland according to an opinion poll.
The Progressive Scottish Opinion survey commissioned by the Scottish Refugee Council (SRC) to gauge public opinion about the 20,000 refugees currently in Scotland found that 38% of Scots were “fairly or very concerned” about the number.
The damming statistic has led to the SRC to launch a new campaign to encourage people to take time out to share experiences and stories with refugees making their homes in Scotland.
Its Cup of Tea with a Refugee campaign urges people to set up inclusive community events and has created a website with information and stories from some of the refugees now living in Scotland at cupofteawitharefugee.com.
In all the everyday things, refugees are just like us. They are our friends, neighbours and colleagues.
There were some positives from the survey, however. It also found that 56% of Scots polled agreed with the statement: “Refugees are ordinary people just like us, we’re all the same really”. The same number also said they were not “very concerned or not at all concerned” about the number of refugees in Scotland.
The survey also highlighted that younger people are more tolerant over the issue.
39% of young people between 18 and 24 years of age said that they were “not at all” concerned about the number of refugees in Scotland compared with 22% of all respondents.
Gary Christie, head of policy for the SRC, said: “The Cup of Tea with a Refugee campaign highlights the fact that refugees are ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. In all the everyday things, refugees are just like us. They are our friends, neighbours and colleagues.
“They have hopes, dreams and stories to tell like all of us. We hope that people across Scotland will get the kettle on and join in this campaign to get to know each other better.”
Khosrow Zanganeh from Iran arrived in Glasgow about five years ago and now works as an interpreter. He became involved in the planning for the Cup of Tea with a Refugee campaign earlier this year and says that wherever you are in the world, tea is associated with welcome and warmth.
“Tea is comforting and homely and it’s that kind of environment that we are trying to create with this campaign,” he said.
“Refugees have often had to go through some very hard experiences. But we are not victims, we are survivors, and we are all tired of hard times and bad news. This campaign looks at the positive side of things, at creating a warm space where people can engage and get to know each other better. To bring together old Scots and new, all as one.”