AF&RS welcomes children from Chernobyl

Avon Fire & Recuse Service (AF&RS) joined with an international charity to help inspire children affected by the Chernobyl disaster.

As part of the partnership, nine boys and eight girls from the Belarusian town of Osipovichi visited staff and firefighters at Temple fire station for a day of respite, games and engagement.

Throughout the day on station, the group of 11-year-olds had a go at spraying the hose, trying on kit and were shown around the station and fire trucks.

Supporting the trip is something that AF&RS is keen to embrace as part of its values of transparency, inclusivity, ambition, honesty, respect and courage.

The Service works with community groups from across the region and world to help them become role models within their own communities.

AF&RS is also a keen advocate of respite, mental health and wellbeing, and has taken big steps recently by providing wellbeing spaces, Trauma Risk Management, and family and wellbeing officers across the Service.

Lee Rogers, White Watch Manager at Temple fire station, said: “We are delighted to welcome these 17 amazing children from Chernobyl once again to Temple fire station. Each year, we have been blown away by their resilience and sheer love of life.

“Engaging with members of the community from far and wide is now a key role for the fire service, especially as the role of a firefighter continues to change.

“Charities like the Chernobyl Children’s Life Line allow us to reach and engage with people from all walks of life, no matter their background of life experiences.

“Anything we can do to bring a little bit of respite and joy to those who have been through so much is a worthwhile experience.

“We are proud to be working with the charity hope it demonstrates just how far Avon Fire has come in supporting those around the world.

“We look forward to working with them again in the future and hope the children all took something positive from the day.”

Thanks to the Chernobyl Children’s Life Line (CCLL), the 17 children flew to the UK on July 7th, for a four-week respite break from the ongoing health and social effects of the 1986 disaster.

The Chernobyl explosion released 400 times more radiation into the atmosphere than the atomic bomb over Hiroshima, and the impact will be felt for generations to come.

Accompanying the children are two teachers who will act as interpreters and ensure the children remain safe, whilst having fun and gaining as much educational value as possible from the trip.

Thanks to the amazing efforts of the charity's volunteers and the generosity of local businesses a wide range of exciting activities have been arranged for the children.

Andy March, CCLL Trustee, added: "We aim to give them the kind of experiences that simply do not exist in their homeland.

“This includes visiting Temple fire station, the Roman Baths, Centre Parcs in Wiltshire and the Oscar-winning Aardman studios as well as vital health checks at the dentist and optician.  

"A four-week break in the UK has been proven to reduce Radionuclides in a child's system by up to 30%.

“Simply by bringing a child to the UK and exposing them to fresh air and uncontaminated food provides their immune systems with the chance to rest from the constant bombardment of radiation.”