'We hope there is no backlash from Brexit'

Members of Scarborough's Eastern European community are hoping there is no backlash against them after the Leave vote in the EU referendum.

Thursday, 30th June 2016, 9:44 am
Updated Thursday, 30th June 2016, 10:47 am
Romanian workers in Scarborough hope there is no backlash from the Brexit vote

Following 52 per cent of the UK voting to leave the European Union, racist attacks and incidents have risen across the UK.

Polish shopworker Dorota Malkowska, who moved to Scarborough 10 years ago from Kielce with her boyfriend, said there has been much concern from her friends after 62 per cent of

Scarborough voters put their X for Leave. She said: “A lot of them are asking me ‘are you having to leave now?’ They are worried about what is going to happen.

Polish shops have become a welcome sight in Scarborough's shopping district

“I’ve never had any trouble and I love it here.

“My boyfriend works at McCain and people have asked him if this means he has to go back to Poland now.

“They are not being nasty, they are just worried for us.”

Romanian’s Florin Nita, 23, Madalina Vrabie, 20, and Vasile Rusu, 25, work at the Hand Car Wash in Highfield, Falsgrave.

Latvian Didzis Rolavs works at Flamingo Land

They have been here for roughly two years and still believe it was the right decision to come to England.

Madalina told The Scarborough News: “I like it here. People are very friendly. Everyone has been kind to us.”

Vasile added: “We can earn more money here. It’s difficult in Romania to find work.

“Nobody has said anything bad to us like ‘go home’. Everyone has been nice.”

Polish shops have become a welcome sight in Scarborough's shopping district

Florin said he was also happy with the decision he made to come to Scarborough.

All three said they wished we could stay in the European Union and that they plan to continue living and working in Scarborough for years to come.

The owner of one of the region’s largest employers of foreign workers, Flamingo Land, said he was disappointed with the result of the referendum.Gordon Gibb called it a “tragedy”.

He said: “Like most medium and large organisations Flamingo Land has benefitted greatly from the contribution made by our Eastern European cousins and team members.

Latvian Didzis Rolavs works at Flamingo Land

“The realisation that we have consciously distanced ourselves from all the benefits that our relationship with the European Community has brought us is indeed a tragedy.

“Isn’t it interesting that we refer to hard-working visitors to our Country as immigrants but, when we decide to move to foreign shores we call ourselves Ex-Pats?”

Flamingo Land staff Didzis Rolavs, of Latvia, and Gabor Keleman, of Hungary, say their experience of living and working in this area has been overwhelmingly positive.

Both started out in catering roles at the park and have worked their way up to more senior positions.

Economics graduate Didzis, 27, who is a company analyst, said: “Everyone is friendly and I’ve never had any issues since I came here.

“I could get a good job in Latvia but I like this environment. North Yorkshire is brilliant.

“Since the EU vote, I’ve seen racism reported in the newspapers in other parts of the UK, but there’s been nothing like that here for us.

“My girlfriend and I both want to stay here. Living and working here is very positive for both of us.”

Gabor, 34, who is the park’s purchasing manager, said: “I’ve never had anyone come up to me in the street and insult me.

“I came over from Hungary when I was 20 and I see myself as half British now.

“I’ve never claimed any benefits and I pay my taxes.

“I feel like part of the furniture now.”

Gabor added he was disappointed with the EU referendum result, saying: “I feel like everybody will lose with it, not just foreign people but the whole of the UK as well.“I feel like people don’t really know what they voted for.”

Police in Scarborough say there has, so far, been no reported incidents of racism linked to the Brexit vote. A Polish centre in London was daubed with graffiti telling those who used it to

“go home” and a shocking video emerged of youths on Manchester tram racially abusing a group of men.