Could you share your home with a Chernobyl child for 2 - 4 weeks?

Hosts 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.
Host families are all volunteers - 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, the children can enjoy themselves.
Many links arrange group activities and outings during the three or four weeks recuperation visit. 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 to the UK. From necessity some of the cancer care in their home countries has become very advanced, however some of the dental and opticical equipment dates back to the 1960s!

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 a 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.

We also have supporters (or Buddies) to help our host families look after the children, when needed. There may be times when family matters take precedence over activities and it might be that a "sitter" is required. These support families provide an integral part of the hosting activity.

Whilst most of the activity takes place during the children's visit, the whole process requires a lot of dedicated work throughout the year by the link committee and membership, fund raising and planning the visit . Although we depend a lot on supporters and sponsors for what we can get for free, it costs our links in the region of £500 per child. 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 (usually English teachers) with the group who translate and are on call 24 hours a day. Of course there are some families that have hosted many times and will gladly pass on tips and experiences to you. As a host family you will be provided with a manual of advice, guidelines and rules, together with a glossary section in Belarusian or Ukrainian. You are never expected to cope on your own.

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

It is important that we understand the trust that the children's parents have put in us. At the request of the charity we have been audited by the NSPCC to ensure that our safety and selection procedures provide a consistently high level of protection for the children.