My name is Slawomir Fejfer, but in UK for obvious reason I use my middle name Adam. Together with my wife we set up Polish Centre Shrewsbury c.i.c. to help for local Polish and other Central and Eastern European minorities to create safe space for discussion, but also to learn how to adapt to local communities. One of our main aim was to build bridges between us – migrants from Easter Europe and residents not only British, but also with many others culture coming and living in UK from whole world.
We are proud to be Salopians, but we do not forget about our heritage so like our friends from Philippines or India.
Slowly we build our brand in local area. Since many years local organisations and institutions contacted us regarding many issues. And we have been involved in many activities like consultation with NHS or Police, but what is more important we organise events to promote understanding and shared knowledge about our countries. We always believe that understanding our neighbours is a key to build better communities.
Recently we organized event to celebrate our Independent Day which is important for many Central and Eastern European countries on 10th November where we had fair representation from various background. Moreover, we raised over £500 for local charity to support them with their outstanding work.
In near future in Telford alongside with other volunteers and organisation we will organise WOSP Grand Finale (The Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity) – if you’ve never heard about it just have a look. Which is Polish charity well recognized worldwide and unite Poles and not only Poles in wonderful event.
I found out in many occasion migrants from A8 countries afraid to ask for help in first place, but also, they are not very keen to offer help for others. However, if you motivate them well, explain why it is worth it, they will give you support with full heart and time.
Our outstanding volunteers are examples of that. I remember when we started few years ago we had very small team and now, we leading of team build of over 20 friends who are involved in our events or meetings. Most important part is that team is build not only from Polish citizens migrants who settled in Shropshire or Telford, but also by our British friends who very like our idea, passion and just want be part of it.
I know it is over 1 million Poles and over 2 million A8 citizens living in UK which in many occasion lives is restricted only to home, work and church. But I strongly believe their time and energy can be utilised in much better productive and effective way. But again, they need to find safe place and leaders who show them they can be a part of community and they should share their knowledge and life stories for better understanding us – EU migrants.
Many of us grow up behind Iron Curtain, we still have in our memory about long queues for basic commodities like bread, or many of us still afraid police, because they remember Security Police take somebody whose they know for oppose politics view. That knowledge could be very valued for British public, to hear that stories from migrants. To hear that stories from people like me and other millions EU migrants who decide to come to UK and built new home here.
But now, with shadow of Brexit and uncertainty about our own future in country which we called ‘home’ – we afraid of future, we afraid for our legal statutes. How we can plan our next step? When we must to consider we may leave our houses, take our kids from schools, close our business only because we are not welcomed in UK any more.
EU citizens live in UK from years, work hard and contribute to society in many ways. We just want to feel in UK like in home, we just want better future for our kids exactly like everybody else.