Friday, April 03, 2009

Another wonderful Merseyside Polonia event tonight

I really enjoyed tonight's Merseyside Polonia, it was good fun. We had some very interesting presentations - each last only a few minutes but give all manner of organisations and agencies the chance to explain the services they offer or the ways in which they wish to engage with the Polish communities.

We heard first from the youth team recruiters at Everton FC. They are looking for young children from the Polish community in Kensington, boys and girls, to come and play football and be brought on through the club. The presenter said that it cost them money to pay for Polish players to come to Everton from the country, but if they could "grow" their own talent on the streets of Liverpool then they could save money and increase the number of local players at the club. Apparently there is a little boy or little girl out there in Kensington right now who could be the next Wayne Rooney - if that is not too controversial a statement for me to make!

Then there was a guy from Social Services who is looking at how they can encourage people from new communities to engage with day care services and a Polish speaker who is working with HMRI to study the housing tenure of the different community groups.

Liam and I sat with Steve and Sheila, and had some lovely Polish food - a fantastic sausage and egg soup, imagine such a thing, fantastic, I could eat it every Saturday morning before leafletting, no bother. And cake!

And Gosia had invited a Polish/English second generation singing group from Manchester who gave us some good old Polish tunes and had us swaying along.

Gosia McKane, the organiser, explained that Easter is a really big deal in Poland, as important as Christmas, so there was Easter fayre and beautiful painted eggs and traditional decorations for us to admire. She had painted a special egg, just for me, with my name on, which I hope to show you a photo of in due course, and I was really pleased. She is so lovely, beautiful, smart, intelligent, charming and gentle, in fact I want to be her, but will settle for being pleased to have become her friend since we have been working together.

Last month is the final event in this cycle, and they have been really successful, everyone mixing together and enjoying breaking down those barriers. We need to get together to talk about how we can extend the project into the next municipal year.

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