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Engaging with our Polish community during COVID-19


In the summer of 2020, Healthwatch Torbay – the independent healthcare consumer champion service we run – were asked by the Palace Theatre in Paignton to recite a poem for the NHS – ‘These are the Hands’ by Michael Rosen, for a project where members of the local community our videoed reciting relevant poems to uplift the local social media community during COVID-19 lockdown.

The whole Torbay team did this and our own Healthwatch Torbay and Engaging Communities South West project support worker Aleksandra Burckett even recited the poem in her native Polish tongue to be shared online, which was very well-received by the local community. The video of this is below and the words to the poem itself can be found further down at the end of this page.



Since then, Ola, as she prefers to be called, has been translating vital information about COVID-19 into Polish for the local community, which has been shared on all the Healthwatch websites in Devon, Plymouth and Torbay, along with various different Polish Facebook groups.

This attracted the attention of the local Public Health Team in Torbay, who got in touch with us to ask whether she could do the same for some of the materials and communications that they have been sending out to the local community. This included important information about COVID symptoms, what to do when you get them, where to go, and the rules of self-isolation. This message was put into a poster format – which we than helped to distribute to local Polish shops to be put on display. Ola and the Public Health Torbay Team are also in the process of producing an information video for the local Polish community on how to access information and details on COVID testing.

In November Ola became a COVID ‘Champion’ for Torbay, an initiative run by Public Health where Champions receive an up-to-date local Coronavirus information and share this with as many people as possible, including local Healthwatch, friends, family, work colleges and of course the local Polish community.

“With so much information available it can sometimes be hard for people to know what information is accurate and where to go for trustworthy advice. That’s why, COVID Champions are needed as they can be seen as a ‘trustworthy source’ for the people they know.” Commented Ola, “I believe that by working in collaboration with other organisations we can build a stronger networks and engage with our local community effectively. Together we can achieve more in keeping Torbay community informed and safe.”

For more information please call free on 08000 520 029 or email


These are the Hands | For the NHS | By Michael Rosen


These are the hands

That touch us first

Feel your head

Find the pulse

And make your bed.


These are the hands

That tap your back

Test the skin

Hold your arm

Wheel the bin

Change the bulb

Fix the drip

Pour the jug

Replace your hip.


These are the hands

That fill the bath

Mop the floor

Flick the switch

Soothe the sore

Burn the swabs

Give us a jab

Throw out sharps

Design the lab.


And these are the hands

That stop the leaks

Empty the pan

Wipe the pipes

Carry the can

Clamp the veins

Make the cast

Log the dose

And touch us last.