Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust and the picnic of the Polish Saturday School
- Credit: Michal Siewniak
In his latest monthly column from the Polish community of Welwyn Hatfield, Michal Siewniak looks at cultural identity and the 'Polish connection' with WGC.
A couple of years ago, my daughter had a non-uniform day at school.
She wasn’t sure what to wear, however in the end, she picked a Polish football top, with my nickname on it (ksiądz, which means priest in English), and a Croatian scarf.
My kids were born into a truly European family. I am Polish and my wife comes originally from Croatia.
When I asked my daughter about the choice of her non-uniform day clothes, she simply said: “I like to call myself a foreigner.”
I was pleasantly surprised as it shows that diversity is part of her DNA.
I often wonder whether understanding our past, roots and our heritage can help us to live better in the present moment.
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I also wonder whether exploring and learning about our current place of residence can help us strengthen our identity.
The pace of life often means that we might not have time to think (and be grateful!) for what we have or where we live.
This is why, to address the issue of “cultural and historical learning”, the Polish Saturday School in Welwyn Garden City organised a picnic, which gave the school, its pupils and parents the opportunity to learn a little more about the history of our town.
Sunshine, water, a blanket, sun cream, snacks, lots of smiling faces and just a happy afternoon; sometimes the smallest thing can bring us the greatest joy.
The picnic, which took place in WGC town centre on Saturday, June 12, was a wonderful opportunity to socialise and spend time together.
Moreover, 30 plus participants enjoyed an inspiring and informative talk by Tony Skottowe, chairman of the Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust, about the history of Welwyn Garden City, which is now 100 years old.
Everyone who took part in the 'outdoor lecture' learned something new and had a chance to get to know the town even better, which has become such an important part of our lives.
I am really pleased that the Polish community is strongly embedded in the social fabric of Welwyn Hatfield.
In Poland, we often say "przyjemne połączone z pożytecznym" ("pleasant combined with useful"), which most definitely was the case that Saturday afternoon.
A few hours flew by. Everyone agreed that we must do it again. We are all up for it.
PS: We are truly blessed with where we live, let’s not forget it.