Award for Polonia club founder

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Gosia McKane the founder of Merseyside Polonia ©NewsTeam/DaleStreetNews

A Liverpool woman has been recognised for her work in the community after being awarded the Polish Civil State Award.

Gosia McKane, the founder of Merseyside Polonia, was presented with the award on November 12th from the Polish Consulate in Manchester.

Merseyside Polonia was set up in 2008 as a way of helping people from Poland and Polish descent to understand their own culture and adapt to life in Liverpool.

Mrs McKane told JMU Journalism: “It was a great surprise. I always thought medals were for war veterans.

“What we do in Liverpool is work with local people and for it to get back to Poland is recognition of the hard work everyone puts in.

“When I received the medal I didn’t know what to say.

“It is not just me that works in the community, it is a whole group without whom it would be impossible to put in the amount of work that we do.”

This is not the first time that the work Merseyside Polonia has been noticed as BBC North West televised their Christmas Eve dinner event in 2008.

Mrs McKane told JMU Journalism: “Merseyside Polonia allows us to show the positive aspects of Polish communities and hopefully break down some of the negative stereotypes that exist in the media.

“We do try and make it accessible for everyone, using historical events along with films to help people to understand and embrace their heritage.

“It was initially meant to be a short term thing but as more people got involved, it became a wider community project. Most of the people that are part of Merseyside Polonia are volunteers and it gives them a chance to develop new skills and discover things about themselves and their ancestors.”

About Scott Fitzpatrick, JMU Journalism