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Issue:-24/25 February 2009

Royal meeting for Polish community champion

A community champion who has helps Polish people settle into Liverpool life met Prince Charles on Wednesday, 24 February 2010. Gosia McKane from Merseyside Polonia, which works to build relations between local residents and Polish people, met be His Royal Highness and the Duchess of Cornwall at a reception. She was been asked to attend by the Federation of Poles in Great Britain, who have been impressed by her achievements. The event at the Polish and Cultural Association in West London, is ahead of a visit to Poland by the Royal couple in March 2010. Gosia before the event told us that:- “I am delighted and honoured to be invited to meet the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall and hope to get the chance to talk about some of the work which we are doing in Liverpool. The Polish community in Liverpool is long established and it has been growing in recent years due to economic migration and that’s why it’s important that we promote understanding of the different cultures.” Over the last two years, Gosia has organised a number of events in Liverpool to raise awareness of the new Polish community and make new residents familiar with local services. Highlights have included inviting the local community to a traditional Polish Christmas dinner, organising Easter Egg decorating workshops for children and putting on a special exhibition at the Town Hall, looking at how Liverpool and Gdansk were both affected by the second world war. Gosia has also recently been appointed by the city council to work as a community development worker building links between both nationalities. The Federation of Poles in Great Britain General Secretary Malgorzata Sztuka said:- “Merseyside Polonia’s approach to building positive relations between the Polish community and local residents is a perfect example of good practice among new Polish organisations in the UK. I was particularly impressed with Gosia’s commitment and how well she developed co-operation with local services and organisations. Merseyside Polonia promotes Polish culture by bringing people together, sharing their cultural backgrounds and creating better understanding among different communities.” Councillor Marilyn Fielding, Liverpool’s executive member for safer stronger communities said:- “Liverpool has a proud history of welcoming people of all nationalities. This is a great honour for Gosia and demonstrates how well respected the work of Merseyside Polonia is.”

Did you know that?

► The Federation of Poles in Great Britain was established in 1946 and works to promote the Polish culture, language and traditions.

► Prince Charles and The Duchess of Cornwall are visiting Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic from 15 March 2010 to 23 March 2010.

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Two million flock to city museums

MORE than 2.2 million people visited National Museum venues Liverpool last year, a 14% rise on 2007. The city’s eight free museums and galleries are proving to be a big hit according to new figures released by The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA). In 2009 National Museums Liverpool venues attracted a total of 2,282,562 people. This compares to 2,010,666 in 2007. Merseyside Maritime Museum is now the second most popular museum in the UK outside of London. It receives more visitors than the Imperial War Museum in London and the National Railway Museum in York. David Fleming, Director National Museums Liverpool, said:- “These latest visitor figures are terrific. It’s great news that our venues welcomed more than 2.2m people last year. The challenge for us is to maintain and build on what we offer. We knew we were never going to get as many people through the door in 2009 as we did in 2008, Capital of Culture Year, which saw unprecedented attention and increased visits from outside the region. But the 2009 figures are a big rise on 2007 and the trend is upwards. We have a loyal base of visitors who return several times a year and we are attracting lots of first time visitors too. It’s vital that we keep adapting and welcoming new visitors. Our eight venues are diverse and interesting. We offer culture on all levels, from special exhibitions and collections at the Walker Art Gallery to the Titanic model at Maritime. And what’s more, this is all free. There is certainly a growing demand for our museums and galleries. We hope to capitalise on this enthusiasm when we open the new Museum of Liverpool in Spring 2011.”

Visitor figures to National Museum Liverpool venues 2009:-

Merseyside Maritime Museum:- 945,254.

World Museum:- 605,601.

International Slavery Museum:- 354,579.

Walker Art Gallery:- 213,893.

Lady Lever Art Gallery:- 193,034.

Pier Master’s House:- 135,260.

National Conservation Centre:- 124,656.

Sudley House:- 64,864.

The International Slavery Museum, situated on the third floor of the Merseyside Maritime Museum, opened two years ago and is now welcoming more than 350,000 visitors a year. It is now close to hitting the 1m mark since opening. Another coup for the Maritime Museum was the opening of the Maritime Dining Rooms last summer. The restaurant has stunning views over the Albert Dock and was listed in the Michelin Guide Great Britain and Ireland 2010. This year National Museums Liverpool has a busy calendar of exhibitions and events lined up. Plantastic! a fantastic interactive exhibition about the wonder of plants opened on 13 February 2010 at World Museum and attracted 8,000 people in its first weekend. Our latest offering, Lewis’s Fifth Floor, A Department Story, opens on Friday, 25 February 2010, at the National Conservation Centre. This brand new exhibition of photography taken in one of the UK's oldest and most iconic department stores, reveals a world that has been hidden since the early 1980s. The opening of this exhibition is even more poignant with news that Lewis’s is to close down for redevelopment in June 2010.

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