Charities should tap into ‘progressive upswing’ in Scotland, researchers urge


Charities should tap into the “progressive upswing” north of the border, researchers have said, after research showed that people in Scotland were more open-minded than in the rest of the UK.

A survey of 2,000 UK adults, conducted by the research and strategy agency Eden Stanley between May and June, found that Scots were consistently more open-minded than the wider UK when asked about social issues including gender rights, racial diversity, environmental protection and immigration.

Of the Scottish respondents, 70 per cent said that cultural and racial diversity was an essential part of the UK’s identity, compared with a UK-wide average of 60 per cent.

Researchers found that 51 per cent of people in Scotland agreed that immigration was a good thing and improved the economy, compared with a UK-wide average of 40 per cent.

The survey found that Scots were 6 percentage points more likely to believe that transgender people should be officially recognised as the gender they identify as, with 44 per cent of Scottish respondents agreeing with this statement. A further 32 per cent of the Scots asked said they were undecided on this issue.

More than half of the Scottish respondents said they were prepared to make “significant sacrifices” to their lifestyle to help protect the environment – 17 percentage points higher than the UK average of 37 per cent.

The research also found a 19 percentage point difference between Scottish respondents and the UK-wide average when it came to encountering beliefs that differ to their own.

While 63 per cent of Scottish respondents agreed that it was important to encounter beliefs and ideas that differed from their own even if they might offend them, only 44 per cent of UK-wide respondents agreed with this statement.

Joe Barrell, founder and director of Eden Stanley, said there was a “huge opportunity” for charities and NGOs to “tap into this progressive upswing, rethinking who their traditional audience base is and harnessing more people to their causes”.

He said: “There’s sometimes talk of a liberal elite, select groups of people who share similar views, but progressive thinking clearly stretches much further than we might think. 

“Since the pandemic and even before it, we’ve been tracking a steady shift in public attitudes towards social causes. People are becoming more open-minded, not less, despite what some political discourse might lead us to think.”

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