The team building a special website for migrant workers in Orkney didn’t have far to look when they needed someone with the skills to translate the text into Polish.
Ready and willing to lend a hand was Malgorzata Walter, who works as the office cleaner at Voluntary Action Orkney.
Thanks to Malgorzata’s help, the online information pack has just gone live as part of orkneycommunities.co.uk
With funding through HIE Orkney from the European Leader+ programme – and from Orkney’s Community Learning and Development Partnership – the aim is to provide workers from Poland with a warm welcome to the islands.
And having translated much of the text into her native language, Malgorzata is in no doubt that the new web pages contain invaluable information for people from Poland taking on jobs in Orkney.
“When I first arrived, I had no idea how important it was to register with the Home Office,” she said. “Finding out how to do that can be really difficult, particularly if you end up having to ring one of those multi-choice, push-button phone services.
“But everything you need to know is on the website. And when I was translating those pages, it put me right on what I had to do.”
Malgorzata, an accountancy student before she moved to Orkney, also discovered how to register with a local GP, where to go to church on Sundays, and how to keep in touch with friends and family back home using free internet access.
“I found it really interesting,” she added. “I’m sure other people from Poland will find it just as useful as I did, particularly when they first arrive in Orkney and are wondering how things work here.”
The project to gather the information together and create the new website was run by staff at Voluntary Action Orkney.
Gail Anderson, VAO’s training and development manager, said: “It was a real bonus that Malgorzata is part of our team and could translate the text into Polish.
“We’ve tried to provide all the information anyone might need when they first arrive in a new place – everything from housing, money and legal advice, to Orkney’s sports, arts and cultural scene.
“There are now nearly 100 websites within orkneycommunities.co.uk and we’re delighted that the latest says Witamy (Welcome) to Polish people living and working in Orkney.”
Chessa Llewellyn-White, development manager with HIE Orkney, added: “We felt that putting it online was the best way to make sure the information is widely available.
“The new website is attractive and user friendly and we hope it will play a big role in helping migrant workers from Poland feel at home in Orkney.”
Malcolm Graves, who chairs the Community Learning and Development Partnership, added: “The figures show that almost half the migrant workers coming to Orkney are from Poland.
“A number of agencies had flagged up the need to have information readily available in the Polish language and website is the end result of us working together to achieve that aim.”