A new DVD documentary focusing on the issues Wiltshire’s Polish community have encountered leaving their home country behind was launched in Trowbridge on Tuesday.
The Wiltshire Council feature follows the fortunes of five residents of the town who have swapped Poland for England, focusing on the advantages it has brought them and the difficulties they’ve experienced.
The year-long work, The Polish Community in Wilt-shire, is part of the Wiltshire Voices project giving the spotlight to under-represented elements of the community.
“When I arrived my life spun 180 degrees,” said Marak Kala, 49, who works at Lyons Seafood, in Warminster.
“It can be difficult for us; I had a friend who came over who just wasn’t settled in life and he committed suicide, he was torn and couldn’t find himself, he wasn’t happy living here without his family or at home without money.”
Mr Kala, a former financial advisor, originally from Czestochowa, arrived in England four years ago and has worked hard to learn English which he thinks makes a big difference.
He said: “If Polish and English people could communicate better it would make the community even better.”
During the feature, the residents pinpoint language as being one of the biggest challenges they face while they also discuss the differences in healthcare and education services as well as how the benefit system affects them.
“I was very pleased to be part of the film, and I’m enjoying my time in Trow-bridge,” said Rafal Maciolek, who moved to England five years ago and works in a factory in Melksham.
“I would like to go to university here and I do hope in the future more Polish people here will get more respected jobs, with the council for example and maybe even the Government.”
There are around 3,000 Polish people living across Wiltshire, with a large section in Trowbridge, which is why the town’s area board picked them to be represented in the feature.
The DVD is the latest in a project of 12 features from Wiltshire Council to get the opinions of people who may not normally be represented with features also planned for those with learning disabilities, gypsies and travellers and unemployed young people amongst others.
Wiltshire Councillor Chris Williams, portfolio holder for area boards, said: “Our aim is to find out more about people whose voices are seldom heard and then to act upon what we hear.”
The Wiltshire Voices films will be given to service providers and local bodies to help them when making wide-impacting decisions.
For more information visit www.wiltshirevoices.wordpress.com