About Us

Who we are

Friends of Chernobyl's Children is a registered charity that funds and organises yearly visits for Belarusian children from disadvantaged social backgrounds to the UK, where they stay with host families for temporary recuperative care. The charity targets particularly needy children from seven to twelve years of age, who are often in need of dental and medical attention, education, and tender loving care. The children, from the badly contaminated areas of Belarus, come for one month every year for five consecutive years, which has been shown to have a significant effect on their overall quality of life, their happiness, health and well-being.

How it all began

The charity Friends of Chernobyl’s Children began its work in October 1994, when a single Belarusian girl flew 1000 miles to come and stay in Lancashire with Olwyn Keogh MBE (who then became the founder and first chief executive director of the FOCC). The impact of that first visit upon the little girl’s health and well-being stimulated fifty such visits the following year, and increasing visits ever since.

What we do

Every year the FOCC funds hundreds of children from Belarus to visit the UK where they are cared for a month by DBS-checked and vetted host families. During their stay, we ensure that the children take part in daily trips and activities that meet their social, health and educational needs. The children return to the same host family for up to five years where possible. 
The FOCC identifies children aged between seven and twelve who are most at need: children from large families, one-parent families, and foster children. Many of these children live in poverty in contaminated areas and suffer general poor health. We fund a 4-week visit to the UK each year for up to five consecutive years per child. The charity currently funds the visits of hundreds of children each year to 26 different groups across the UK – and the number is growing.