Children’s charity dive in at Diss

Last month children from the Friends of Chernobyl’s Children’s Charity took part in two free swimming sessions at South Norfolk Council’s Diss Leisure Centre.

The children enjoyed two fun educational sessions in the pool run by the Council’s experienced Swim School teacher Lindsey Chapman.

This is the second year Lindsey has given up her time for free to help the children who are from some of the most disadvantaged areas of Belarus.

Lindsey said: “It’s a pleasure to help these children develop these vital skills, which may one day save their lives. They are all so much more confident than last year, which is lovely to see.”

The first session aimed to build the children’s confidence in the water, with beginners being taught basic stroke techniques, while the more able children were shown how to dive and encouraged to jump in the deep end. During the second session, the emphasis was on fun, with games, music, big floats, balls and sinkers to play with.

“The children had a great time,” said Lindsey, “and it’s been amazing to be able to support this fantastic charity again.”

Each year the Diss branch of the Friends of Chernobyl’s Children Charity hosts a group of disadvantaged children from areas of Belarus which have been badly contaminated by the fallout of the Chernobyl explosion.

South Norfolk Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Well-being Yvonne Bendle said:

“We’re so pleased that we could help this charity by giving them some pool time. The children live in such poverty, and even though it’s been over 30 years since Chernobyl’s nuclear disaster, it’s still affecting people’s health, especially through contaminated food and water.

“It’s a wonderful charity that does so much for these children, giving them experiences they could never have dreamed of.”

Kirsty Neve, the Charity’s branch co-ordinator for Diss said:

"We are very grateful to Lindsey and Diss Leisure Centre for offering the children swimming lessons as most of them wouldn’t get that opportunity at home and we know what an important life skill it can be."

While in the UK, the children also visited the dentist and optician, visited the seaside (some for the first time) joined in at local schools, learnt first aid, visited the zoo and the circus and even enjoyed a traditional Christmas Day.

Kirsty said:

"It's always such a privilege to see the difference these visits make to the children’s energy levels and confidence over the month they are here. They return home with a suitcase full of vitamins, warm clothing and memories of their second families in Diss."

The charity is always looking for support and sponsors. If you can help, please contact Kirsty Neve on 07706899093 or 01379 890310, or email