Chernobyl charity issues appeal for local host families

WITH their 16th annual summer respite holiday programme just days away, the local branch of Chernobyl Children Appeal (NI) has issued a call for host families for 2013.

The group’s spokesperson, Brian Devlin, said: “We will shortly welcome a group of nine children and an interpreter from Belarus for a three week respite break in Craigavon. Twenty-six years on from the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster, the needs of people living in this contaminated region remain immense. On behalf of our group I want to thank the many groups and individuals whose kindness and generosity add so much to the children’s experience.”

Although the 2012 respite holiday programme has not yet taken place, the group are beginning to think about next year’s holiday. Because of the processes involved – vetting, recruitment of children, visa and passport applications, etc – the group has just a few months to recruit host families, and feel that while the children are here might be a good time to start.

“Each group is responsible for raising funds to cover the cost of their group’s respite holiday programme,” explained Brian. “The total cost is likely to be in the region of £800 per head (children and interpreter) for next summer; so for a group of nine children and an interpreter it is likely to cost about £8,000.”

The Craigavon group meets once a month, beginning in September, to start the fundraising and hosting process for the following summer. Usually the end of December/beginning of January is the cut off point for host family applications for the following summer programme.

Although the respite holiday lasts three weeks it is possible for a family to host for a shorter period - a week or ten days for example.

Individuals or families who might be interested in becoming involved and/or hosting can contact Brian at bdevlin@ymail.com or visit CCA’s website at www.ccanireland.com.