Charity Background


In October 1994, one little Belarusian girl came to stay in Lancashire with Olwyn Keogh MBE, the Founder of the Friends of Chernobyl's Children charity. The impact of that first visit initiated the beginnings of FOCC and the following year, 50 children came from Belarus for a four week recuperative visit to the East Lancashire area.

Since then the charity has grown nation-wide and today there are 24 FOCC Groups across the country.


Friends of Chernobyl's Children is a registered charity which devotes its energies to raising funds to bring children, who are at risk, from Belarus to the United Kingdom for a month every year. The charity targets children from disadvantaged homes, aged between seven and twelve. These children often come from a social background that makes it difficult for them to get the care they need.

The establishment of FOCC Woking started in 2007 after Jane Vicens read an article in a Sunday newspaper about a family who had hosted a child.  Jane had been looking to get involved in a charitable organisation for some time and knew immediately that this was the perfect charity, as she wanted to do something tenable rather than just giving a donation. After looking at the local groups on the FOCC website, Jane realised that there wasn't a group anywhere in the Surrey area. She contacted the Charity Founder who advised that the next step would be to set up a local group.

Through her daughters' school newsletters, Jane invited parents to attend an evening talk on the subject with a view to inviting children to Woking to stay with local host families. The meeting was a great success and generated much of the enthusiasm and commitment that was required to get the charity up and running; the committee for FOCC Woking was established and in September 2007, the group welcomed 10 children aged 7 years old for their first visit with their new host families. 


Thanks to Jane, Woking FOCC was officially up and running! Following the set up phase, Caroline Waters took over as Co-ordinator and successsfully managed the first five annual visits. Karen de Snoo took over the role in 2013 and works alongside a dedicated committeee that continues to help Belarusian children today.

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2013-2016 Friends of Chernobyl's Children Woking. Registered Charity Number: 1128063