Living, learning and working in Trowbridge

The Polish community in Wiltshire

Robert and Justyna Suszek with their children Nicolas, Kacper and Natalie

Amia Zoladek with a village loaf at Polish supermarket Daisy Express

Damian Siegmuller outside the store in Roundstone Street, Trowbridge,

First published in News

MANY Polish families have become an active part of the community in Trowbridge.

Justyna Suszek, 34, of Lamplighters Walk, moved to England from Elblag, first living in London before moving to Wiltshire’s county town eight years ago.

Mrs Suszek is one of five Polish people from Trowbridge who features in the Wiltshire Voices documentary, launched last week by Wiltshire Council, showing the challenges they’ve encountered on moving here.

She said: “A lot has changed from when I first moved to England, at that time there were just lots of us all living in one house, sharing a bathroom. Now obviously that is very different for us in Trowbridge.”

Mrs Suszek, her husband Robert, 41, who works at apetito, and their children Kacper, 11, and twins Natalie and Nicolas, five, who all attend Newtown Primary School, feel part of life in the town.

She said: “I’m a very social person and I love being part of the Trowbridge community, I walk down the street and say hello to some friends in Polish and others in English, it’s a nice feeling.

“For me, finding a job here was very easy. We arrived on a Friday, I went for a walk with my son on the Monday, walked into a job agency and the next day they sent me off to work in a factory in Melksham.”

Mrs Suszek later became a quality control officer at apetito before leaving work when the twins were born.

She likes the fact that she can now buy food from home here in Trowbridge, explaining: “It’s nice to get little reminders of home. When I first went to London, there was just one small deli, now it is so different across the country.”

She enjoys being part of local life in Trowbridge, mixing with Polish and English people. “Polish people would rather see each other in our own homes, but we do go out in the town. Younger Polish people like to go to the pubs and get to know local people,” she said.

“I think one of the main differences between here and Elblag is the size and the entertainment. Over there we have a cinema, theatre and two swimming pools. I can’t complain, we are happy here and looking forward to seeing the new finished cinema.” Elblag is also now twinned with west Wiltshire.

The Wiltshire Voices film will used to help provide services and help the council make decisions which affect everyone living in the county.

For more information, visit www.wiltshirevoices.word press.com.

Delivering traditional treats

AS ever more Polish people adopt Wiltshire as their home, the county is experiencing a rise in shops selling speciality items and two brothers are building a small retail empire.

There are an estimated 3,000 Polish people in Wiltshire, many craving specific foods and drinks from their home country.

Damian and Sebastian Siegmuller, from Lebork, run the Daisy Express grocery store in Roundstone Street, Trowbridge.

They also having two similar shops in Somerset – at Shepton Mallet and Frome – along with tanning studios in both Trowbridge and Frome.

Sebastian, who moved to England nine years ago, said: “We have our own bakery, stock a range of meats and Polish beer, as well as English products.

“We have a good mix of customers and the English do seem to like what we have to offer, too.”

There are four Polish shops in Trowbridge, providing competition and helping keep prices lower.

Sebastian said: “As businesses, we don’t fight. It’s a big community and we all just try to do what we can for the customer.”

The Siegmullers converted their Trowbridge restaurant, Galaxy Cafe, into Daisy Express about five months ago, after it struggled for custom on weekdays.

Sebastian lives in Frome with wife Maviola and their three children. He has not been back to Poland for seven years.

He said: “We enjoy being over here. It’s quite strange, as my youngest was actually born at Royal United Hospital Bath, a few months back, so England is a big part of my family’s history now.”

For Polish people seeking employment, there are recruitment agencies.

Peer, in Church Walk, Trowbridge, was formed 16 years ago and has been finding a range of jobs for Polish, as well other foreign nationals, since 2004.

Joint managing director Andrew Huxham said: “We admire them immensely. They have left their country to come here and have become a very important part of west Wiltshire’s economy.”

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