A Polish perspective – “positive patriotism” abroad

There are times when the Polish community particularly proud of its background and heritage. There are days when our nationality and origin are our great assets. Saturday, 27 November, was just such a day. It was ugly, rainy and windy. Many of us probably would not have left the house. However, despite the typical winter weather, the Polish Saturday School in Welwyn Garden City once again showed that it is the “force for good”, which brings a positive social change in Welwyn Hatfield.

Thanks to a grant from the Hertfordshire Community Foundation, the school, its teachers and volunteers organised an event promoting public health. In all fairness, it was one of many projects organised by the school. Moreover, the school organised possibly bigger initiatives, however the one in November was also quite special.

It was the Polish Saturday School that secured funding for a health and wellbeing project; a total of £2,500. The obtained grant helped the Polish School to become the driving force behind the whole event. Our guests and attendees, including the Mayor of Welwyn Hatfield and the Leader of the Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, had an opportunity to learn, listen and network with 15 organisations from many areas across Hertfordshire as well as many Polish residents.

The Health MOT Event made me reflect on my own “personal journey” in the UK and in Welwyn Hatfield. It helped me once again to appreciate my roots, heritage and culture. I think that often, despite the difficulties, Polish patriotism abroad unites our community. It is thanks to such initiatives that we can positively and more effectively influence our local community. It is thanks to this enthusiasm and desire to build something lasting that our relationships with many institutions are becoming more and more fruitful. The initiative on November 27th made it possible to not only support Polish companies or improve the “sea of Polish talents”, but most importantly, it might have helped to break certain stereotypes and promote a positive image of Poland abroad.

Let us continue building bridges of understanding. Let us continue working together in order to make my community a better place to live for ALL.

* Michal Siewniak is a Lib Dem activist and former councillor

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2 Comments

  • This is a great article. To my mind, being able to appreciate one’s cultural and national heritage is an important way of binding our communities together, of giving people a sense of identity, and of being able to honour and respect our shared histories. It’s amazing to read how the Polish community is able to do that in a supportive environment.

    That does however rather beg the question, why do the LibDems so often give the impression of being so uneasy and unsupportive when the same principles are applied to British (or to English) cultural heritage? After all, surely respecting your cultural heritage is something you should equally be able to do, no matter what your nationality?

  • @ Simon R

    I agree 100%.

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