Charities are being urged to support volunteers from EU countries, amid fears their work could be devastated by Brexit.

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is urging members to do all they can to help persuade European colleagues to stay in the country. Advice to charity bosses includes helping volunteers and employees with concerns over immigration status or visa requirements, challenging hate crime and taking part in workforce surveys about the numbers affected.

SCVO says that even though legally EU nationals are still able to stay in Scotland, many no longer feel welcome or confident to make long term plans.

The initiative comes after Camphill Scotland said it feared the impact of Brexit on the 11 communities for disabled people which it runs. Camphill says 68 per cent of its short term volunteer co-workers and more than half of its long term workers originate from EU countries outside Britain.

Dr Neil Henery, Director of Camphill Scotland, said: “We are deeply concerned about the potential impact of Brexit upon Camphill communities. Camphill was founded in Aberdeen by Austrian refugees and remains a profoundly European movement.”

John Downie, Director of Public Affairs at SCVO, said charities and public services were strengthened by the contribution of EU workers. “It is crucial they are supported to continue doing the great work they do,” he said.

James Cant, Director at British Heart Foundation (BHF) Scotland, said EU nationals were also key to scientific research work.