What will 2022 bring for the Polish community in Welwyn Hatfield?

Iwona Pniewska, head of the Polish Saturday School in WGC, Michal Siewniak and Anna Skiba.

Iwona Pniewska, head of the Polish Saturday School in WGC, Michal Siewniak and Anna Skiba. - Credit: Michal Siewniak

In his first column of the year, Michal Siewniak looks at what 2022 will bring for the Polish community of Welwyn Hatfield.

Previous year was another year in lockdown. Another year, some would argue, in a “semi-normality”. Is this reality becoming a norm, I often wonder?

The whole year flew by, however the last 12 months, for a number of reasons, have been still quite demanding for each one of us, even if in different ways.

However, in spite of some of these challenges, the Polish community in Welwyn Hatfield was very busy! Where do we start?

The most dedicated team of volunteer teachers continued to teach 120 children, face to face and online.

We visited the Welwyn Hatfield Council Chamber, managed to get a small grant from the Big Lottery Fund to run an art project, and organised a picnic in the town centre, led by Tony Skottowe from the Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust, about the history of our town. 

From April 2021, the school returned to after-school activities eg regular karate sessions.

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Towards the end of last year the Polish Saturday School successfully applied for COVID Inequality Fund from the Hertfordshire Community Foundation to deliver a health project.

Our first Health MOT Event, held in November 2021, is behind us and we have already started planning the next one.

So what next? Many of us, including me, are hoping that the next year will be more “predictable”, however there is no time to rest, whatever the future holds!

Only a few days ago, some members of the Polish community met to discuss the year ahead. 

In June or July 2022, the Polish community will organise the Polish Heritage Day, which will intensify a dialogue and foster a better understanding between the Polish residents and the wider community.

Initially, the event was supposed to mark the centenary of Welwyn Garden City and take place in June 2020, however due to the pandemic, it had to be rescheduled. 

We hope that this event will help to empower the Polish community and build the capacity of the Polish Saturday School. 

This initiative will be funded by the former county councillor Dr Barbara Gibson and current county councillor, Fiona Thomson. 

We are also already planning our next health event and we are in the process of applying for another grant, this time from the Hertfordshire Sports Partnership. 

The Polish community, like any other, will continue making a difference and enhancing our fantastic neighbourhood. 

Our skills and talents, as selfless acts of support and generosity, can truly transform many lives.  Wherever we are, whatever we do; we all have a lot to give!

If you want to get in touch with the Polish community, support us or work together on many other exciting initiatives, please email: szkola@pss-wgc.co.uk