Millions in the UK have lent support to refugees in the past month – CAF research shows

More than 1.8 million households in the UK would offer a room to a refugee, a poll on people’s response to the ongoing crisis has found.
Research commissioned by the Charities Aid Foundation shows the outpouring of humanitarian support for people in need with one in 14 people (7%) would be prepared to offer room or space in their home to a refugee, equating to 1.86 million households. The poll suggest that young adults under the age of 35 would be most likely to accommodate a refugee with 12% of 25 – 34-year-olds saying they would be likely to offer space in their home.
The Syrian refugee crisis has inspired a huge response from communities and charities across the country in recent weeks.
The CAF poll, carried out by pollsters Populus reveals that almost one in three (31%) people have contributed in some way to the refugee relief effort in the last month. It also found that social media and distressing images depicting the humanitarian struggle have played a huge part in mobilising the response of people across the UK.
Key findings from the poll, carried out last weekend, show that in the past four weeks:

  • Money has been donated to a charity appeal in support of the refugees by one in eight people (12%) in the UK – equating to more than 6.1 million people. Younger people are most likely to have donated.


  • One in ten (10%) has donated goods


  • Millions have shared and supported campaigns in support of refugees on Facebook and Twitter including a quarter (25%) of all 18 to 24 year-olds.

The top factors prompting people to lend their support were:

  • The belief that international assistance is essential, which was cited by 40% of people who have donated or contributed.


  • The scale of the crisis, with such large numbers of people affected (39%)


  • Seeing images of children and distress and danger (36%)


  • Almost half of 18 to 24-year-olds (42%) said they had been prompted by things they had seen on social media. This was much less of a factor for adults over the age of 24.

 John Low, Chief Executive of the Charities Aid Foundation said: 

“The heartbreaking pictures we have seen of people risking their lives as they flee for safety has really touched people across the country and spurred them on to lend support.

“British people have a proud history of stepping up to the plate and helping others across the world in their time of need. It is a mark of that generosity that so many people are lending their support whether by raising money, donating goods, or even offering space in their homes for a refugee.
“As happens so often in this country when people are in need, communities get together to help, supporting the causes they care about. It's a good idea for people looking to lend their support to see if there are charities operating locally which are co-ordinating appeals. This way they can ensure that their contributions and efforts are being put to the best use and getting to the right people.
"The desperate need to get support to refugees is likely to remain once the news agenda has moved on. People who have been spurred into action in the past few weeks could make an even bigger difference by thinking about how they can turn their support into something which helps relief efforts in the longer-term."

1 Populus interviewed a random sample of 1078 UK adults aged 18+ online between 11 - 13 September 2015.  Surveys were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults.  Populus is a founder member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.  Further information at



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