CAMPAIGNERS gathered in central York on Monday, to celebrate what Britain gains from immigration and to show solidarity with local migrants.

The York for Europe group held a “bring and share” picnic in St Helen’s Square at lunchtime. It was organised to join in with a national day of action called “One Day Without Us”, set up to celebrate the contribution of migrants in the UK and show Brits what the country would be like without their work. Events were organised in towns and cities all over the country.

Organiser Antje Ramming-Robinson, who has been in the UK for 26 years and in York for 23 of those, said that 11 per cent of NHS staff are not British, including 26 per cent of doctors.

“It’s important to flag up that we are contributing to society here, we are not just here to sponge. Taking a day out might focus mind on what we do, and what it would be like without us.”

“A lot of people are volunteers as well - I was a school governor for eight years, and that is not a job people are queueing up for.”

Antje, a teacher, said she has felt attitudes change in the UK since June, and is now worried about her own future - and fears that as a part-time worker she will not qualify for permanent residency to stay in Britain.

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The event was also a chance for non British people in York to meet and talk, she said.

Fellow organiser Emilie Knight said many people who joined York for Europe did so because they were upset and concerned at the way migrants were being treated by the Government, and by escalating instances of racist abuse on the streets.

“People matter. They are contributing and paying their taxes, and to treat them in this rather slap-dash way, to treat them as bargaining chips, is disgraceful.”

She added:”The Government is here to represent all people in the UK, not just British born people.”

“It’s important to us to show, in this city and at a local level, that we do care and we value the contribution that immigrants make.”

The picnic attracted a small crowd, and they were thrilled with the support it received, Emilie added.