During the last visit to London by the Presidential couple, the First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda came to the Polish Care Home Antokol. She talked with the Residents about their turbulent lives which in consequence led to their exile and praised their resilience and their continuing ties with their homeland.
Those Poles who found themselves in Great Britain following the loss of independence of their homeland after the Second World War, did not have any relatives in this country, and their limited knowledge of English made it difficult to integrate with British society and its institutions. The lives of present-day immigrants, however, is so very different.
Antokol, a residential/nursing home, exists since 1951 and plays an important and significant role to people of Polish descent. It is managed by the Polish Citizens Committee Housing Association and is a unique place, where Polish traditions and culture are cultivated and where the residents can spend time together and converse in their native language. The homely atmosphere provided by the Polish speaking carers, gives these elderly people a feeling of safety, respect and a sense of belonging. The home provides various activities: culinary, handywork, gardening, as well as rehabilitation. There is also a friendly dog Max, who is loved by all. The residents often meet with school children with whom they share their memories and experiences. These are invaluable history lessons. The First Lady reflected on the difficult lives of past generations. This must never be forgotten but should serve as an example on how to live a worthy and dignified life.
The President’s wife thanked the management and the carers for providing a family atmosphere which is so important to the elderly, particularly those in exile. The First lady noticed the very personal approach to each of the residents, which is full of respect and consideration of their individual needs. She emphasised that the existence of these types of homes is so important today, since there are many more elderly people in our communities requiring care.
The First Lady wished the residents and the staff a Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.