Families needed in Derbyshire Dales to host children from Chernobyl

A group of Chernobyl children with their host families on a visit to the Derbyshire Dales last year.
A group of Chernobyl children with their host families on a visit to the Derbyshire Dales last year.

Families are needed in the Matlock area to host the latest batch of children to visit the Derbyshire Dales from Chernobyl.

For more than 16 years, the local link of the charity, Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline, has been bringing youngsters over for a holiday that boosts their health and wellbeing.

They come from areas of Ukraine and Belarus that were severely contaminated by the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster back in 1986.

The total number of children brought over by the Bonsall and Derbyshire Dales Link since 2002 is more than 160.

But the group is unable to finalise this year’s visit until they know how many families are willing to volunteer to have the children live with them for two or four weeks in the summer.

A spokesman for the group said: “Hosting children is a fun, mutually enjoyable and rewarding engagement.

“A pair of children, aged between nine and 11, will live with you in your house for two or four weeks, sharing your lifestyle, eating with you at your table and participating in recreational activities organised by the Link committee.

“Although hosting requires a level of commitment and responsibility, you are not left on your own because our support families will gladly give you a hand if you need one or two days off.

“The children are generally well behaved and come over with their group leader who is also a translator.

“There are no significant issues with language or cultural barriers. All the children understand, and speak some, English.”

This year's plan is to bring over eight youngsters from Korosten in Ukraine between Saturday, July 11 and Saturday, August 8.

Although more than 30 years have passed since the disaster, many poorer families still live in the affected areas and so drink and eat contaminated food and water.

A holiday in the UK boosts the children’s health and self-esteem as they enjoy a clean environment and a range of activities.

If you would like to volunteer to be a host family, please contact Link chairman Chris Broome on 01629 824512 or e-mail him at chair.bonsall@ccll.org.uk