Help raise money to support kids affected by Chernobyl visiting Lancaster

Youngsters on a previous visit to Lancaster.
Youngsters on a previous visit to Lancaster.
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The fundraising coordinator for the Lancaster group of Friends of Chernobyl’s Children raised £800 for the charity during her month-long sponsored challenge in January.

In addition to a sponsored silence and being banned from eating any cakes, sweets, biscuits and chocolate, Hanneke Ament spent all month dressed up as a clown at work.

Friends of Chernobyl’s Children is a charity which provides respite holidays for groups of seven to 11-year-old children from needy families from contaminated areas in Belarus, suffering from the economic and social impact of the Chernobyl disaster.

Most of the children have no running water or proper sanitation, living in wooden homes in villages with several generations in one or two rooms. Temperatures go down to minus 30 Celsius in winter.

The children visit the UK for one month every summer on a five year programme, staying with local host families.

While in the UK, they enjoy clean air, fresh water and a good diet in contrast with their food at home which is often contaminated. This boosts their shattered immune system.

They get to see a dentist and optician during their stay and take part in a wide range of indoor and outdoor activities and trips.

Two interpreters travel with the children and spend the following month providing support to both the children and host families.

This year the children are in Lancaster from June 1 to 29. There will be 16 children in the group this year, two on their first year of the programme and three on their last year.

It costs £600 per child for air fares and visas. There are lots of other costs such as hire of a minibus for the month, cost of trips out, etc.

The children’s visit is very much a community effort with lots of local people, schools, businesses helping out, offering activities and trips, free food and milk.

FOCC Lancaster have a few fundraising events coming up over the next few months. A Vintage Tea Party is being held on April 6 at Christ Church Hall, Wyresdale Road, Lancaster, from 1.30-4pm. There will be live music, stalls, children’s activities and of course tea, scones and cake.

On May 12 FOCC Lancaster will be taking part in a Cross Bay Walk from Arnside to Kents Bank to raise much needed funds.

The walk is can be up to 10 miles and strenuous, involving crossing mud flats and gullies. Join them on this iconic walk, adults £15, children aged 11+ are £2.

To book go to https://mydonate.bt.com/events/crossbaywalk/488847 or call 07854 597185 or email manfewales@hotmail.com for further information.

They can also be found on Facebook.

The charity is entirely run by volunteers so all money gets used to finance the children’s visits.

There are lots of different ways you could help the charity:

*Sponsor a child or activity

*Donating items for the children’s residential stay during their visit (fruit juice, cereals, tins)

*The Lancaster group is looking for somebody who would be interested in helping with social media and publicising events

*New host families are needed for the 2021 visit

*Are you interested in a talk about the charity at school, community groups or church?

*Donation of good quality children’s clothing (6-14 years)

*Organise a fundraising event

If you can help or would like further information, please contact Jo Thornton, group coordinator, on joanne.thornton8@btinternet.com or 07508 631228.