By Helen Wright, Reporter
Sunday, October 21, 2012
What do Barcelona, New York, Auckland, Frankfurt, Dublin and Montreal have in common with Hatfield?
The answer is they have all been nominated for an international award.
Cities of Migration (CoM), a Canadian charity initiative and award scheme seek out good practices in immigrant integration, have included Hatfield Polish Forum in their new book of case studies.
Michal Siewniak, a community development office with charity CVS, submitted a case study to CoM after he helped set up the polish elections which took place in Hatfield fire station earlier this year.
In Poland, even if you emigrate you can still have the right to vote in your home country.
Roughly 2,000 polish citizens have emigrated to Hatfield since the border controls changed in 2004, and Mr Siewniak is one of them.
He is the founding member of Hatfield Polish Forum which promotes integration with the local community and provides a place for polish people to come together.
The polling station was a collaboration between Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, HCC Fire and Rescue Service, Welwyn Hatfield Polish Forum, Polish Embassy in London, CVS Broxbourne and East Herts.
He said of his inclusion in the case study book: “I am so happy for the county, for our district and town Hatfield – as this is a superb outcome of some fantastic work taking place here.
“Hatfield has been recognised as a centre of social cohesion by an international charity – it really puts the town on the map.”
Lynne Sparks, Welwyn Hatfield Borough councillor, said: “This is great news as it recognises Hatfield’s community spirit & growing diversity.
“This is something we can continue to build on to ensure all parts of our community feel included.”