Brexit is fuelling hostility against those from overseas, says social entrepreneur

Ciiku Sondergaard is a director of 4Wings in Liverpool which runs projects for refugees and survivors of domestic abuse. Tony McDonough reportsIMG_3284

People from overseas have a valuable contribution to make to the Liverpool city region economy.

That’s according to a director of a local social enterprise who has expressed her dismay at the rise in incidents of hate crime since the Brexit vote in June.

Last week it was revealed that there had been a surge in reports of hate crime across the UK since the referendum, according to police figures.

Ciiku Sondergaard, who runs 4Wings in Liverpool city centre said she had heard anecdotal evidence that people with racist views had felt “emboldened” to express their prejudice more openly.

4Wings runs projects for survivors of domestic abuse, refugees and young people whose first language isn’t English.

Ms Sondergaard told YBNews: “I have spoken to people who tell me they have faced abuse while out and about in Liverpool – in the street and while travelling on public transport.

“People are telling me it has got worse since the Referendum. That it has given licence to people to express racist views more openly.”

Ms Sondergaard added: “Many in our society are welcoming of people from overseas but there is a minority who just don’t see huge benefits such people can bring.”

She says many of the refugees who seek assistance from 4Wings have fled places of upheaval and conflict and often they are professionals with skills who are keen to work.

However, those seeking asylum in the UK are not allowed to take up paid work.

“Asylum applications can take years so what are they supposed to do in the meantime?” added Ms Sondergaard.

“These people want to make a contribution to their communities but are not allowed to. This can lead to frustration and depression and on top of that they face abuse for just being here.”

Research carried out by University College London found that between 2002 and 2012 migrants made a net contribution to the UK economy of £2.5bn a year.

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