Melbourn families invited to learn how to get involved in helping children affected by Chernobyl disaster

Friends of Chernobyl's Children guests last year.

Friends of Chernobyl's Children guests last year. - Credit: Archant

A charity that invites children suffering the long-lasting impact of the Chernobyl disaster to stay with families in South Cambridgeshire is calling out for a fresh round of volunteers.

Friends of Chernobyl’s Children, which has for 10 years been operating in Melbourn, invites underprivileged children from Belarus to spend a month getting respite care from a family in the UK.

South Cambs branch co-ordinator Clare Woodall – who has previously hosted a child herself – said: “By having a child from Belarus in your home for a month, allowing them to breathe clean air and eat fresh wholesome food, we can help these children to extend their life-span.

“By helping these children, we have not only helped to change their lives. but also to enrich our own.

“Speaking personally, as a host mummy to Natasha, one of the little girls on our first programme, I can say that having her in our lives has brought us so much happiness. My own child speaks of Natasha as her Belarussian sister.”

Clare’s husband Ian said: “We have got a great deal from the experience. It’s a learning curve for children, to show how lucky they are, and how life can be for other people.

“It’s not only good for their bodies, but the social side is also beneficial. It gives the children some hope for the future.”

Most Read

The charity will host a presentation evening tonight at Melbourn Primary School from 7pm for anyone interested in learning more about how to get involved either as a host family or as a fundraiser.

Further information can also be found online at or by emailing

Belarus is still suffering both socially and economically from the devastation caused by the explosion of the Chernobyl nuclear power station in 1986. It will be another 24,000 years before the land is safe.