The Belarusian Children’s Hospice (BCH) is based in Minsk, the capital of Belarus. A brand new, state-of-the-art building known as Forest Glade was opened in June 2016. It has 10 in-patient beds, a day centre, educational department and the administrative centre where all the hospice’s care programmes are organised and co-ordinated. The hospice also owns a group of purpose built houses and other facilities in the countryside at Zabrodie about 100km from Minsk which it uses during the summer months for respite care for sick children and their families and holidays for well brothers and sisters of hospice children.
BCH provides palliative care at home, end of life care, an emergency service and summer programmes as described above. BCH patients can also benefit from short stay in-patient and respite care at Forest Glade. It also offers support programmes for siblings, parents, staff and volunteers during the child’s lifetime and in bereavement. BCH publishes informative booklets and its educational and training courses in palliative care for medical workers are held in very high regard in the whole of Eastern Europe and countries of the former Soviet Union.
No. The hospice’s services are provided free of charge.
In a year, teams from the Belarusian Children’s Hospice make regular visits to about 220 children in Minsk. Sometimes more than one child in a family will need care. The total number of visits in a year often exceeds 4000 and a visit can last from 2 hours to half a day.
BCH cares for children and young adults from birth to 24 years old. Originally, the hospice cared for children up to the age of 18 years but, with improved care, many of the young patients are now living longer than their initial prognosis so in recognition of this BCH has extended its care programme to cover patients up to 24 years.
The in-patient unit has 10 beds with en-suite facilities for respite care, emergency/end of life support and 3 family apartments.
Broadly speaking, these fall into three categories: cancer, diseases of the central nervous system and genetic/developmental diseases.
Forest Glade provides day centre services. In addition, there is a programme of outings and visits to places of interest for more mobile children eg the zoo, musical entertainment and picnics in the park.
We raise funds from standing orders, sponsored events, private donations, grant making trusts giftaid, business clubs, concerts and other events.
How can you be sure that the money raised by Friends of BCH is being spent appropriately in Belarus?
Friends of BCH receives quarterly reports from the hospice detailing how the money we send to them is spent. Friends of BCH’s chairwoman, Daryl Ann Hardman, speaks and reads Russian fluently, has spent many years working in Russia and chairs the Advisory Board of BCH. She visits the hospice at least twice a year to discuss its strategies and programmes and is in regular email and telephone contact with the director of the hospice and the fundraising team.
Friends of BCH has raised, on average over the past ten years, £58.6k a year, excluding a one-off grant of £250k which was obtained from a UK trust towards the building of Forest Glade. Our verified accounts and trustees’ report can be viewed on the Charity Commission website by entering our registered charity number 1116116.
Friends of BCH spends, on average, no more than 4% of its total annual income on administrative expenses. All our trustees and helpers are unpaid.
Forest Glade receives government funding for the in-patient and day centre services. Friends of BCH contributes to the salaries of BCH care at home hospice staff. Just a few years ago, very little of BCH's income came from local sources but an increasing amount is now raised from within Belarus. This dramatic increase is mainly due to the dedicated fundraising team. The fundraising function at BCH was initiated and originally paid for by Friends of BCH. Our aim is to help the hospice become entirely self-funded.
The hospice was founded in 1994 by Anna Garchakova who is still its director. Anna introduced palliative care to Belarus and BCH was the first children’s hospice in the former Soviet Bloc countries. Since then, BCH has helped found children’s hospices and children’s palliative care services in all the regions in Belarus and been instrumental in setting up the first hospice for adults in the country.
No. Friends of BCH does not bring children out of Belarus. The money we raise goes much further in supporting their medical care in Minsk and the surrounding areas. We do support the hospice’s holiday programme for hospice children and their families in the village of Zabrodie 100km north of Minsk during the summer months.
When a nuclear reactor at the Chernobyl Power Station in Ukraine exploded in 1986, the wind blew most of the radioactive fallout across Belarus. The Belarusian border with Ukraine is just 16km from Chernobyl.