December has gone by so very quickly! Christmas is already upon us and the New Year is approaching with big strides. As this hectic but fruitful year draws to a close, it is timely to pause and reflect on the significant achievements of our Association…

Incredibly, since April 2021, our membership has grown to over 700 members! This surge in support for our association has buoyed the Management Committee and encouraged us to seek new and innovative ways of maintaining this growth. Clearly, our media and marketing strategies have made a positive impact not only on the Polish community but also an ever-increasing multicultural fan base who are discovering “Polonia”.

Our membership is comprised of many age groups, and we are delighted by the increased interest and attendance of our beloved seniors as well as the lifeblood of our community, our youth, not to mention all those in between. We love seeing you in our Polish House. I would also like to thank those members who have volunteered their time to “Polonia” this year, especially the Events subcommittee and the Zakopane subcommittee – we truly could not have made it through the year without your efforts and enthusiasm. We are always looking for volunteers, so if you have some time to spare, please reach out to us!

Only a few days ago, “Polonia” was bursting at the seams during the most successful Market Day in many years, with record numbers of stall holders as well as in excess of 500 attendees. We regret that there were long wait times at some stalls however this is beyond our control as staffing and collection arrangements are the responsibility of individual stallholders. Nevertheless, we trust you appreciate our efforts to grow and diversify the market and we welcome feedback about what you would like to see at future markets.

New regulations that took effect just prior to the Market Day have impacted on our operations in a variety of ways. The Management Committee has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of “Polonia” and, as such, we have taken the necessary steps to comply with the law and avoid heavy financial penalties. I would like to thank the vast majority of our members and patrons who have been very understanding and compliant when they visit our venue. A reminder that our staff and volunteers are simply doing their job when checking compliance with mandatory public health measures like the vaccination mandate and mask rules. Any abusive or otherwise inappropriate behaviour towards “Polonia” staff, volunteers or Committee members will not be tolerated and offenders will be asked to leave. If you are opposed to the current regulations, we suggest that you contact your local Member of Parliament.

Your generous response to our Donations Appeal together with increase in turnover has brought us tantalisingly close to being able to pay back the bridging loan obtained from SPK Australia, as part of measures to repay the $150,000 loan and other debts incurred by the past committee that was in office prior to April 2021. The Management Committee has been working hard to increase turnover by improving and promoting the restaurant operations, growing venue hire, and generating revenue from events. We thank all members who have supported our restaurant, bar and events throughout the year – your support is invaluable! Stay tuned for an announcement about further loan repayment in the New Year.

As we get ready to cross one financial bridge, new challenges await. Various parts of our aging building and assets are in need of attention and repair or upgrade. We urge you to continue your financial support of “Polonia” in the New Year through patronage of the venue as well as donations, in the face of significant expenses including a complete upgrade of our main power board, an urgent upgrade of kitchen equipment, and upgrades to our “Zakopane” rural retreat.

Our hard-working staff will take a well-earned rest from Friday, 24th December 2021 until Tuesday, 11th January 2022. “Polonia” will reopen its doors for business on Wednesday, 12th January 2022 – so spread the word and we look forward to seeing you then! Please remember to make a reservation to dine at the restaurant – contact the club on 3369 2747 or 0412 122 209 or send us a message via Facebook.

Our 2022 calendar is already taking shape, with the first event being our “Zakopane Bush Dance” on Saturday, 22nd January 2022. Tickets for this “zabawa” (dance party) are now available at: https://www.trybooking.com/BWMVJ Links will also be posted on our social media accounts and website calendar. Proceeds from this fundraiser are designated to improving facilities at our rural retreat “Zakopane”, located at Rathdowney. In the meantime, you can donate to a fundraiser for a new mower for “Zakopane” via our online fundraiser on GoFundMe: https://gofund.me/cf038dd5. Thank you to all who have donated so far! Please direct all enquiries by email to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Finally, the Management Committee is committed to visibility and an open and constructive dialogue with members. You will find most of us present at every Market Day as well as various events. Members of the Committee are available to meet with members during the week on a pre-arranged basis or feel free to stop by the club on Friday evenings, when one or more Committee members regularly help out in the restaurant. We welcome your feedback and input about what you would like to see at “Polonia” and how we can grow and improve our community.

In closing, on behalf of the Management Committee of “Polonia”, I wish you and those you love, peace, joy and every blessing at Christmas, and a New Year that is filled with ongoing happiness and the fulfillment of personal dreams and aspirations.

Wesołych Świąt Bożego Narodzenia i Szczęśliwego Nowego Roku!

Henry Kurylewski

President

30.12.2021

To stay fully informed about what is happening at “Polonia”, I encourage you to regularly look at our website: www.polonia.org.au

and follow our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/polishclubmilton and/or our Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/miltonpolishclub