It is amazing what a difference a month of fresh and unpolluted air and good food can do… Check out the highlights of our children’s visits over the last few years below. By selecting the image shown you will be taken to our Flickr page where you can see the photos and videos taken for each year.
2019 Visit: Sunday 9th June – Sunday 7th July 2019
This year we brought 16 children to the UK for respite. 15 was our maximum….but we had a three very needy new little boys that we found our November visit to Belarus so 16 it was! It was the last year for Veranika and Vera and Yuliya and a new lady, Olya, were our lovely interpreters.
As usual we had an exciting programme organised with several new activities generously donated to us.
The Kent Scouts arranged a day of Archery with tuition, Body Zorbing, Go-Kart Racing, Cave Bus and an amazing time on the Climbing Wall. Yuliya really enjoyed the Wall and said this was the best day of her life! All this and a wonderful lunch, then an old fashioned Afternoon Tea with lots of wonderful cream cakes! They really spoiled us.
Mote Park Leisure Centre is another place we visit each year. The children really enjoy the fun swimming pool with boats and mats to play on and also the Polar Slides and Soft play area, there.
Another annual visit is to John Lewis to have the children’s feet measured and to buy them good school shoes. The children often return in these shoes a year later, obviously they grown and so they are too small for them. John Lewis are very generous and give the children a lovely lunch with party hats and ‘goody’ bags and a lovely gift.
Albany Taxi’s collect the children from Cliffe in decorated Black Cabs and they are driven to Dreamland in Margate, lunch is provided with ice creams all round and time to paddle their toes in the water too.
Camping was a first for our group this year. Just one night in little pop-up tents in a huge draughty barn! Lots of fun activities with our volunteer Guide Leaders, The children decorated their ‘neckers’, played parachute games, forest school activities and leaf printing. Then they sang songs and cooked s’mores around the campfire.
Capstone Park also hosted our group for the day with Rob the Ranger! The children enjoyed a long walk during their orienteering activity. Pond dipping and examining their catch under a microscope was exciting too. Then, after collecting leaves, seeds and sticks etc. the children mad mud…..to make a mud face on a tree and decorate it. The Norse cafe at the park also fed the children with Chicken nuggets or sausage and chips which they all thoroughly enjoyed. Many thanks to all those who supported the charity during the four week visit.
2018 Visit: Sunday 10th June – Sunday 8th July 2018
This year we brought 15 children to the UK for respite from the ongoing effects of the Chernobyl Disaster. It was the last year of four, for both Andre’ and Lonya. Yuliya and Alexandra were our lovely interpreters once again.
We had a very busy timetable arranged for their visit which included Dover Castle where they enjoyed pretending to be Kings and Queens and playing on canons too. A beach visit to Broadstairs was another hit with the children. When you have never seen the sea or a sandy beach it is very exciting. They don’t mind how cold the water is. They run in and out of the waves and roll in the sand and then back to the sea! Simple pleasures that we in this country take for granted.
A very special day this year was Christmas Day and how we in the UK tend to celebrate. A very different way from Belarus who celebrate each year on 7th January. The children enjoyed Christmas crafts and games, decorated a Christmas Tree and sang a Belarusian song too. They all received gifts from Santa who arrived with his elves. A little pony joined in too, wearing Reindeer antlers on his head! The children were enchanted by the day.
An annual visit to Mid Kent College for two whole days is another great time for them. They get to make their own pizza lunches, go swimming, play games and visit the beauty salon where they have their nails painted and style their own hair or practice on model heads. Also another special day was the Ashford Fun Day with African Drums and Vuvzela’s. Lots of interesting crafts, fantastic food and they also got to tie and dye a t/shirt each to take home to Belarus.
Each year the children visit a dentist, opticians and we have a visit from our Volunteer Doctor. All these things are privately arranged at NO cost to the NHS and we and the children are very grateful for what is provided for them. The children and their family’s cannot afford treatments or spectacles, or even toothbrushes and toothpaste. We supply all these things and much more.
This was a big year for FOCC Medway. Ten new children coming to the UK for the first time; four returning children (and one of these children’s final visit); two interpreters (one new too); and lots of new host families too. But despite the challenges all that represents, it was an amazing visit, with many many firsts for lots of these children.
Another big year for FOCC Medway. Twelve children visiting the UK: for three it was their first visit to the UK and for eight it was their final of five visits. But what an amazing time they had.