Councillor holds surgeries for Polish citizens

Norman Work. Picture: Toby Williams
Norman Work. Picture: Toby Williams
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A CITY councillor is reaching out to the Capital’s vast Polish population – by holding surgeries in their native language.

Councillor Norman Work – or Radny Work as he would be known – has enlisted the help of a translator so he can meet Polish-speaking constituents in his Almond ward.

The SNP councillor said he was inspired by Polish colleagues, who persuaded him it would be a good way to connect with the community.

Cllr Work said: “I did it to make sure that people are aware and make them feel that they can contact their local councillor. It was more trying to make people feel welcome – there are a lot of families here and there’s a lot of Poles on the electoral register.”

But the Capital’s care champion admitted he had delegated control over the language used to attract Polish constituents in a tweet he sent out to advertise his surgeries.

Cllr Work said: “I have to trust the people making the poster because they could be taking the mickey. I don’t understand it at all as a language compared to French and German – I can understand quite a lot of those from school, but it’s gobbledygook to me.

“I could not understand much out of the surgery notice but I thought it was a good idea – it’s really just something to make use of and alerting people that we are here.”

An estimated 8000 Poles live in the Capital, with many families moving here after the Second World War before a further influx after Poland joined the EU in 2001.

Some of the city’s Polish residents said they were pleased to hear they had somewhere to air concerns in their native tongue.

Monica Lisicka, of Zupa in Leith, said: “I think it’s a good idea because many Polish people here don’t speak English.”

Peter Balcer, owner of the Let Me Eat deli in Holyrood Road, said the move would make the Polish community feel more welcome in the Capital.

No-one at the Polish consulate, in Kinnear Road, was available for comment.