21st March 2020
It is with great sadness that we have to inform you that the children from Belarus will not be coming to the UK this summer. Together with support from FOCC GB, the Trustees and Executive Committee came to this decision for the health and welfare of the children and their families, as well as the host families, helpers and volunteers in the UK. In addition, the Belarussian government have suspended all children’s visits organised by charities such as ourselves.
Our hope is that we will be able to resume the visit to the UK in 2021. We are in regular contact with the office in Belarus and with their help, will continue to support the children and their families in any way we can throughout the rest of the year.
We hope to continue our fundraising activities where appropriate; we will use our Facebook page to keep you informed. In the meantime, we would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your ongoing support, especially during these unprecedented times.
Questions & Answers
For how long will the Belarussian Government suspend the visits?
We have been given no indication of the length of the suspension or when it will be reviewed. Our office in Belarus receive regular updates from the Belarussian government which is passed on to the charity Trustees and Executive Committee.
Will the same children who were due to visit this year, come in 2021?
Our hope is to bring all the children who were due to visit this year, including those who were due to complete their last year.
If the situation improves before June, will it be possible to reverse this decision?
Unfortunately not. Visas and biometrics for the visa applications have to be organised a few months in advance of the visit. Unfortunately, there would be insufficient time and resources to organise the visas for all the charity groups.
If the situation improves, will it be possible to bring the children later this year?
Due to school holidays in Belarus, availability of host families, helpers and volunteers it would be extremely difficult to arrange a visit for later this year. However, some host families might decide to bring their Belarussian child on a private visit in December. Private visits are still organised through the charity but at the sole cost of the host family.
Will the charity lose money because of this decision?
Visas and flights (a large proportion of our annual costs) have not yet been organised or paid for, therefore, the charity’s financial position remains unchanged. Our Group Co-ordinator (Tony Baldwin) hopes to be able to visit Belarus in November and will use some of the budget put aside for this year’s visit, to support the children and their families where appropriate.