How the UK’s decision to leave the EU has led to a boom in random acts of kindness.
On 23 June Britain voted to leave the EU. 51.9% of Brits voted to leave; while 48.1% voted to remain. And the results have divided the country.
Police have reported a spike in xenophobic abuse and hate crimes since the results were announced. And those who voted Remain are angry about the outcome and are petitioning for a second referendum. But, among all the anger and political mud-slinging, people across the UK have been proving that Britain is still a welcoming country.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, a practising Muslim, broke his Ramadan fast with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, and others have been committing random acts of kindness.
With all the fear and negativity in the UK right now, take time to remember Jo Cox’s words, “We have far more in common with each other than things that divide us,” and go and spread the love,
Here are our top 5 acts of kindness motivated by Brexit.
1. Londoner leaves gifts for her immigrant neighbours – and is moved to tears by their response
In London, Shona Pugh decided to show her neighbours they were still welcome.
She wrote on Facebook: "So today I have performed a #randomactsofkindness post #Brexit. I have several neighbours in the flat above me, all from other EU member countries. I want them to know they are welcome here."
Shona left a gift of chocolates and flowers out for her neighbours, all of whom are EU immigrants.
Her neighbours’ response to her gift moved Shona to tears. They returned her kindness with gifts of their own, bringing Romanian wine, Bulgarian pie and sweets. “This is how to treat your neighbours, people," Shona said.
Shona told Mirror Online "I didn’t know what their reaction was until I heard a knock on the door and there were three of them stood there with gifts in their hands."
"I got very emotional and they thanked me for thinking of them. I said I had been thinking about also having them over for a bit of a European night where we all bring a national dish. Once they left I had another cry. It’s been a bit of an emotional few days."
As Shona wrote on Facebook, "Just a small gesture at a time when we all feel a bit unsettled and uncertain. We can all use a little more humanity."
2. Operation Scone is launched in London
In response to Operation Croissant, which saw Parisians sending croissants across the channel via the Eurostar, Londoners Sarah Fox and Jules Middleton launched Operation Scone, with the slogan "Sorry we’ve scone".
Handing out the British teatime treat at St Pancras Station to people travelling on the Eurostar, Fox said "We felt we had to do something to show our EU friends that this wasn’t the result Londoners wanted."
Middleton added, "There is so much negativity and gloom it’s nice to focus on the good things."
3. Flowers given to EU immigrants in Somerset
In Wells, Somerset, someone left a bucket of roses outside their house with a note saying, "If you are an immigrant to the UK, take a rose and remember that, in Mendip, most voted to remain in the EU. Thank you for being here."
While a rise in hate crimes has been reported nationally, Avon and Somerset police have suggested that’s not the case locally.
4. Dorset B&B owner offers free accommodation to European citizens
Shocked by reports of xenophobia, Malcolm Heygate-Browne, owner of the Bakehouse B&B in Sherborne, Dorset, is offering people who hold a European passport a free night’s stay throughout July and August as "a thank you for their contribution to the UK".
The Bakehouse employs people from the Ukraine and Poland, who Mr Heygate-Browne describes as "loyal and friendly".
5. Local people show solidarity with Polish Community Centre
After a Polish Community Centre in Hammersmith, west London, was graffitied, local residents came out in force to show their support for their Polish neighbours. The centre was inundated with flowers and cards.
"After yesterday I felt very upset, but this is nice," a receptionist at the centre told The Guardian, "English people coming in and apologising for one person’s stupidity."
One of the cards read: “Dear Polish friends, we wanted to let you know how very sorry we are to hear about the abusive messages graffitied on to your building. It’s depressing enough that the UK (or part of it) will be leaving the EU. That the result of the referendum seems to have been interpreted by some as a licence to express their racism and xenophobia is truly horrifying.”