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  1. ITV Report

'We need to speak to each other, get to know each other, and work together for the common good'

Polish Ambassador Arkady Rzegocki (right) joins community leaders in Harlow. Credit: Polish Embassy.

The Polish Ambassador has congratulated the Harlow community on its work to "develop long-term solutions to prevent social tensions" and reassure foreign nationals living in the UK.

His endorsement comes just seven months after Arek Jozwik, a Polish man living in the town, was attacked and killed in the Stow shopping area.

At the time, ambassador Arkady Rzegocki said he was shocked by the killing and expressed concern at the apparent increase in suspected hate crimes against EU nationals following the Brexit vote.

But on Saturday he returned to Harlow for a Meet Your Neighbours event and to see a giant artwork created by Polish artist Yola Kudela to encourage community cohesion.

The mural in Harlow. Credit: Harlow Chamber.

"I would like to congratulate the organisers of today’s “Meet Your Neighbours” event and express my appreciation for all the artistic and community projects that are bringing the people of Harlow together throughout the Essex Book Festival.

"It is important to remember of the death of Arek Józwik, and the saddening wave of hate crimes that tore apart the social fabric of so many local communities in Britain last year, but what we need to be doing to prevent such tragedies in the future is speak to each other, get to know each other, forge those relationships on both the human and the institutional level, and work together for the common good.

"This is exactly what you are doing here in Harlow and what the Polish Embassy has been trying to do, actively working with British partners to develop long-term solutions to prevent social tensions and reassure Poles living in the UK."

– Arkady Rzegocki, Polish Ambassador to the UK.

The ambassador was joined by Harlow MP Robert Halfon and other community leaders - many of whom feature in the artwork - at yesterday's event.