EVENTS

Three peaks were successfully ascended by our brave mountaineers in both good and awful conditions. See more here.

NEWS

Deb and Pam visited BCH again to advise on the physio project. Watch how a special chair transformed a little boy's life here.

FUNDRAISERS

The winning number in September's 100 Club draw is 37 and the prize is £40.  Find out more and about how you could join here.

Current News

Anton Simon RIP

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anton 2013We are sorry to announce the death on 22nd May 2017 of Anton Simon, a true Friend of the Belarusian Children's Hospice.

In 2013 and 2014, at the age of 60 and 61, Anton put himself through exhausting training in London in order to complete triathlons, in Minsk, in aid of the Belarusian Children's Hospice. He raised a huge amount in sponsorship from generous friends, family and colleagues and donated a self-funded film about the triathlon and the Hospice.

Generous with advice to the BCH Advisory Council and a generous personal sponsor, Anton and his sparkling humour will be much missed by everyone at BCH and Friends of BCH (UK).

Anton's 2013 triathlon and film

Anton's 2014 triathlon, being intervied on Belarusian TV and film

 

anton bruce start of cycling compressedAnton with HMA Bruce Bucknell

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Physiotherapy Project - Stage one

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Nikita 1 cropped and compressedFriends of BCH is undertaking a major long term project setting up and funding a ‘new to Belarus’ children’s physiotherapy service which will be available at Forest Glade and to children in their own homes.

Unfortunately the Belarusian medical establishment takes the view that children with complex neurological disabilities such as those cared for by BCH cannot be ‘cured’ and so have no potential for improvement. The state, therefore, only provides the most basic treatment. This is incomprehensible to us. In the UK and other western countries, these children would be treated by an integrated multi disciplinary team of different therapists who would identify their particular problems and work with them and their families to achieve their maximum physical and intellectual potential as well as improve their quality of life.

BCH and Forest Glade’s approach is in marked contrast to this and such children will receive all appropriate care to help improve their quality of life and assist them achieve their potential. Physiotherapy, as we understand it in the UK, is not a recognised profession in Belarus so we have coined a new term for this type of therapy: abilitation. Our project will assist, support and fund the development of an appropriate abilitation service to BCH children who would benefit.

Summer Camp - a volunteer's story

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Vitaly Markovski is a volunteer at BCH's summer camp. In this film, he talks about what it means to him and how life-limited children and young people can have a fun summer holiday at BCH's specially adpted site in the countryside. The weather is usually much better than in the film but the rain does not seem to dampen anyone's spirits. On the site in the village of Zabrodie, there is accommodation for children, families and volunteers.  It is, in most cases, the only opportunity for BCH children and families to have a holiday. For those who live in blocks of flats, often without a lift, it is liberating to be out in the fresh air and to enjoy the beautiful scenery. Many friendships are forged and children look forward all year to returning in the summer.

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May 100 Club Winner

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12 May 2017 cropped and compressedThe drawer was Marilyn Butler and the draw took place at V's Kitchen and Tea Room in Old Amersham.

The winning number is 10 and the prize is £205.

Learn about joining the 100 Club here.

Pictures at an Exhibition played and illustrated

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troubadorPupils, parents and other visitors to The Beacon were given a real treat by pianist Alexander Ardakov and children’s author, illustrator and storyteller James Mayhew. As Alexander played Pictures at an Exhibition by Modest Mussorgsky James illustrated the music. As he painted and drew, James and the emerging picture were filmed and projected onto a big screen. Each of the ten sections of the music describes a scene such as The Gnome, Ballet of Unhatched Chicks, Limoges Market, Catacombs and The Hut on Hen’s Legs. James, who is probably best known for his Katie and Ella Bella Ballerina books, admitted that the most difficult sections of the work to illustrate are the ones which do not take very long to play.

How BCH is leading the way in palliative care

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You may have read recent articles in The Guardian or MailOnline about the distressing plight of disabled children in orphanages in Belarus.

The pattern of care provided for Belarusian children with chronic or terminal illnesses such as cerebral palsy is patchy. Belarus inherited the Soviet system of caring for severely disabled children in institutions often known as orphanages. Under this system, parents of chronically ill or disabled children are positively encouraged to give up their child into state care, often at birth. Sadly, these children with severe medical problems and disabilities are frequently labelled as having ‘no potential’ and receive little more than very basic care.

The quality of these institutions varies and depends on the director who seems able to allow or restrict access to visitors from outside. There are some very caring and well-meaning people working at the orphanages but, given drastic underfunding and understaffing, many of them can barely manage to complete essential care let alone give individual attention to their young charges with such complex needs. Belarusian Children's Hospice paediatrician Dr Pavel Burykin quotes the example of one of the orphanages he visited with 260 children and only 2 staff on night duty at any one time. Pavel is working on a project funded by a UK based NGO on how to expand paediatric palliative care and related services for children with severe disabilities and life-limiting conditions in Belarus. It also aims to protect and promote the rights of these children and their families