Bonsall & Derbyshire Dales Link  

Hosting

Families that help the children have a great time whilst in the UK fall into two categories:

  • A family that can host two children for either two or four weeks during the summer;

  • A support family who may be unable to host but can provide assistance to hosting families.

Host families welcome children into their homes as part of their own family. Over the years many hosts have acquired "extended families" as contact is maintained over the years with children that have stayed with them. Some hosts get very attached to the children and pay for them to return to the UK on a private basis, once again arranged through the charity.

A hosting family get no financial reward - the reward comes in seeing children blossom during their time in the UK.
With the problems of Belarus, Ukraine and Chernobyl put to one side for the duration of their stay, the children can enjoy themselves.

We arrange group activities and outings during the four weeks for the children and their host families. This gives the children the chance to interact and to be able to talk together in their own language. All the children visit the dentist and have their eyes tested during the first week of the visit. From necessity, the cancer care in their home countries has got significantly better since 1986, with modern medical equipment becoming more evident, however, some of the dentists and opticians equipment dates back to the 1950s!

The children are in the UK for up to four weeks but some families may only be able to host for part of that time, this is not a problem. We can arrange for two families to share the four week period and ensure a smooth transition from one family to the other. We recommend that children are hosted in pairs so that they can relax together.

The support families help the hosting families to look after the children, when called upon by the host family. There may be times when family matters take precedence over activities. It may be that a "sitter" is required when the host family has to be away from home during the stay. These support families provide an integral part of the hosting activity.

Whilst most of the activity takes place during the months visit, the whole process requires lots of dedicated work throughout the year by the link committee, fund raising and planning the visit . Although a lot depends on supporters and sponsors for what we can get for free, it costs our links in the region of £550 per child for the month. This does not sound much until you multiply it by the number of children that each link hosts, 10 children is £5,500, 50 children is £27,500 - and some links DO bring 50 children across each year. This money has to be raised locally by the link and any help towards this, or any offers of assistance are always welcome.

There is always someone on hand to offer advice if needed. We always have Belarusian or Ukrainian leaders with the group who can speak English and are on call twenty-four hours a day. Of course there are some families that have hosted many times and can pass on tips and experiences to you. As a host family you will be provided with a manual of useful advice and charity rules, together with a glossary section in Belarusian or Ukrainian. You are never left to cope on your own.

In accordance with CCLL's child protection policy, each host or support family is carefully checked and must complete a full disclosure DBS form (we will help you with this) before they can host a child. Each hosts' home is visited by two Link committee members to ensure that the children will have a memorable and safe experience whilst in the UK.

It is important that we understand that the children's parents have placed their trust in us to care for their children whilst they are with us. Each host family is acting in loco parentis during the visit. At the request of the charity we have been audited by the NSPCC to ensure that our safety and host family selection procedures provide a consistently high level of protection for the children.

Hosting the children, especially for 4 weeks, can be quite tiring and we always advise host families to make use of the Support families. They will go accompany the children on trips or have them to stay for a day, just to give host families a break or to enable them to attend an important appointment or just to catch up on housework, washing etc. At the end of your experience, you will have mixed feelings, sad to wave goodbye but at the same time you get a real sense of satisfaction that you have made a real difference to the children's lives, something they will always remember but also sometihng that you will also cherish and be proud of.