Respite break benefits 16 children

Published on: 25 Aug 2017

CHILDREN from a region of Belarus which is still affected by the Chernobyl disaster have been staying with families in and around Downend thanks to the efforts of a local charity.

The Bristol Link of Chernobyl Children's Life Line flew 16 children to the area in July for a four-week respite break from the ongoing health effects of the 1986 disaster. 

Eight boys and eight girls from the Belarusian town of Osipovichi and the nearby village of Protesavichi stayed with local volunteer families and returned home on August 6. Accompanying them were two teachers who acted as interpreters, ensuring the children gained as much educational value as possible from the trip as well as having plenty of fun.

Visits included the Roman Baths, Centre Parcs in Wiltshire and the Oscar-winning Aardman studios as well as vital health checks at the dentist and optician, which were provided free of charge by Oasis Dental Care in Downend, Boots in Keynsham, and Oldland Dental Practice in Oldland Common.

Children also had a day at Christ Church Junior School in Downend where they met Year 5 pupils and practised their English skills.

Andy March, CCLL trustee, said: "A four-week break in UK has been proven to reduce radionuclides in a child's system by up to 30 per cent. Simply by bringing a child to the UK and exposing them to fresh air and uncontaminated food provides their immune systems with the chance to rest from the constant bombardment of radiation."

Host James Hyden, of Bromley Heath, said: "Hosting the children is always tremendously rewarding. It's great to see them relax, have fun in our fresh air and enjoy the many things we take for granted. There is truly no language barrier when you are throwing yourselves down the slides at Centre Parcs or jumping around on bouncy castles!"

Anyone interested in volunteering or making a donation to the charity should contact Andy March on 07812 159942.

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