Jadwiga came to the UK from Poland in 2010. She soon found employment as a warehouse worker, a job she did for the first year and a half, combining it with a part-time teaching position at a Polish school.

She was then able to move on to office work, temping for a leading international infrastructure company as an office administrator. Following this, she worked in the probation sector as part of a learning and development team, coordinating training for probation officers.

Jadwiga is currently working as a personal development coordinator for an organisation that helps individuals struggling with homelessness, offending, substance misuse and mental health problems. In her role, she works in a team to support people, coordinating projects and referring those in need to the services and resources that can help them. 

While she credits this job as her dream job, Jadwiga would also like to explore her creative side and is currently furthering her skills as a photographer, hoping that one day she will be able to combine her passion for helping people with her passion for photography.

I try not to worry about things I have no control over, and I feel pretty secure here because of my job and my house. It [Brexit] was like a slap in the face, it was so surreal I didn’t really believe it. I sensed the effects overnight, the situation totally flipped, like before people had to respect you but now they have invisible permission to victimise you. It’s awful.

My friend who works closely with the Polish community is telling me horror stories about how they are now being victimised not just by some people in this country, but by other nationalities as well. I am hearing a lot of stories about Polish people not being served well at stores, cashiers being unpleasant to them, and things like that make you feel not so welcome here.

I am very worried that this wave of hate will continue and that it will get worse when we actually leave the EU. I will affect innocent people, who work hard, and that is really unfair.

On the other hand, the day after the referendum my manager went out and bought all Polish workers flowers to show his appreciation and that we are welcome. That was amazing, and this is what I hold on to, more than the prejudice that might be out there.