Bristol Link  

The 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 buddy 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 and Chernobyl put to one side, the children can enjoy themselves.
Many links 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. Everyone visits the dentist and optician during their first visit. From neccesity some of the cancer care in Belarus has become very advanced, however some of the dental care and equipment dates back to the 1950s!group_with_bus.gif

The children are in the UK for 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 buddy 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 buddy 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 the link in the region of £500 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 £5,000, 50 children is £25,000 - 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. noahs ark

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

On the serious side, each hosting or buddying family is carefully checked and must complete a full disclosure DBS/VF form - we will help you with this - before they can host a child. Each hosts home is inspected (by two Link Officers)  to ensure that the children will have a good experience whilst in the UK.

It is important that we understand the trust that the children’s parents have put in us. We regularly ask the NSPCC to audit our proceedures and advise us about any improvements.