Tag Archives: Fundraising

Visiting Belarus with Chernobyl Children’s Project

I was sorting out some of my files and photo albums at home when I came across a folder where I had recorded a visit to Belarus with members of the team from Chernobyl Children’s project back in 2005. I can’t believe it was over 10 years ago now! The recollection of the visit plus the desire to promote the amazing work done by the team has led me to write this blog.

At the time, I was headteacher of Rodney House School in Manchester and one of the privileges I had was to have developed a relationship with Linda Walker , the National Co-ordinator who had brought several groups of influential dignitaries from Belarus to visit the school and see the work we were doing with our pupils with SEND. This included the person in charge of SEN in the Ministry of Education, groups of staff from children’s homes, the Director from the home for abandoned babies in Gomel including a senior staff responsible for training. There was such a strong will to make positive changes in the area of working with children and young people with SEND and we know it was having an impact because of the letters we received following the visit e.g.


“Titania has gone home full of ideas of how they can improve the care and education for children at the abandoned baby home”

I was really honoured when asked by Linda if I would participate in a visit to Belarus to share my expertise. As well as visiting various schools and orphanages I also was to be given the opportunity to speak at an international conference in Minsk , spend a day with members of the early years team visiting children out in the community and participate in interviews for the staff for the Mayflower centre which was to be the established as the first respite care home in Gomel.


The week was a busy one filled with a range of emotions as you can imagine. I have such admiration for the children, their families, for those that were and still are working so hard to improve things for the children in Belarus – the children with SEND and the children with cancer. The work that the Chernobyl Childrens’s project does is amazing and I would urge you to take a look at their website to find out more about their work and support in what ever way if you can.

I met  and had the chance to spend time with some very special children:

Speaking at the conference in Minsk was an ‘interesting’ experience ! Not least having my presentation simultaneously read in Russian! Things have moved on a lot , it was over 10 years ago, however I faced lots of challenges from the ‘medics’ in the auditorium at the time about the educational value of working with children who had such significant learning difficulties and indeed being taken to see the ‘cot children’ in the orphanages even now brings a lump to my throat.

Like I say though it was over 10 years ago now and such will to change. As a strong advocate for our pupils with SEND and a supporter for  UNCRC Receiving a letter like this says it all and made my day:

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UNCRC: Article 28. The right to education – ‘after her visit completed work on a new law which entitles all children to an education what ever their level of ability’ #result!

Interviewing for the Mayflower Centre was a blast and how privileged to have a big role in appointing staff for the first respite care home for children and their families!

I had an opportunity to spend lots of time at Rodni Kut which was the first care home established by Chernobyl Children’s project –  I took Rodney House t-shirts out for the children who had moved in to live there. Again, in terms of an honour and privilege – there can be no greater than receiving a letter like this:

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“Whenever we have brought visitors to your school they have been greatly impressed by the happy atmosphere, the high standard of care and education and the obvious dedication of all the staff. When we created our first home for children with special needs we were trying to think of a suitable name for it. One of our Belarussian friends suggested ‘Rodni Kut’. In Russian this means ‘cosy corner’ but to us it is now ‘Rodney House’ and we hope to model the care and education as much as we can on what you do at your school.”

I have so enjoyed looking back through my file of leaflets, photos, letters and re-living some of the memories. The work of Chernobyl Children’s project still goes on however and I for one will be continuing to support them.

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Thank you for taking the time to read my story. I know what I did was a drop in the ocean to the hard work done by the team at Chernobyl Children’s Project but I’d like to think I did my little bit and I thank Linda and everyone involved for allowing me to be a part of the bigger story.

Supporting a good cause and having fun at the same time! Sweet dreams charity diary

Doesn’t seem two minutes since @cazzwebbo sent me a message asking me if I would be willing to be involved in a charity diary to raise funds for @famholidayassoc http://www.familyholidayassociation.org.uk/ and here we are with the diary almost at completion as Carol tells us in her updated blog http://t.co/y5FEUxFPDH

In the year and a bit I have been on twitter, I have learned it is full of people who are supportive and generous and this project is a good example. Carol herself has worked tirelessly to get us to this point and many other people both directly involved in the diary and indirectly have given their time, support and in many cases contributed financially.

What I also know about the people on twitter is that they like to have fun and having all worked so hard to get the diary together, it is now time to do just that! We have a launch event organised for Friday 28th November which whether you are directly involved in the calendar or not will be a great chance to meet up with twitter folks and have a really nice evening. It’sn Manchester which is a bit of a journey for some of you I know but why not combine it with an overnight stay and a Christmas shopping trip in Manchester on the Saturday?

Let me tell you a bit about the evening’s plans so far………………

You will have a glass of something fizzy on arrival, a disco, a lovely buffet , @jillberry102 and a representative from the Family Holiday Association speaking and  @rachelOrr singing. You will also have the opportunity to experience a 4D interactive beach experience courtesy of 4D Creative http://4dcreative.co.uk/products/4d-pop-up/ You can of course buy your copy of the diary which will be on sale on the night!

There are a number of people who need to be mentioned in terms of their contributions to the evening…………..

I am really grateful to my hardworking and supportive Governing Body for allowing us to use @CamberwellPark School for the evening. I am also really grateful to @stevecoates72 who in addition to being one of my Assistant Headteachers, also DJs and is running the disco for us on that evening. I am grateful to Cherryl @Cherrylkd and Carolyn @clyn40 for supporting with the organisation of the evening. I was delighted to get a message from @louise_mitton from 4D Creative who seeing the adverts for the event and the good cause it is for has generously offered to bring along a beach scene pop up for the evening. ( as in the link above). Thank you also to Jill , the reps from FHA and Rachel for their contributions – all ingredients of a really nice evening out!

So what’s stopping you? Come and join us:


P,s – I am in the calendar – check out  June when you get your copy. Want a clue ? See below!!

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Look forward to meeting you on the 28th November