Children from Chernobyl take the helm at Plymouth University
Children navigating a ship in the simulator at Plymouth University

From bug hunting in the open air to navigating a virtual ship in a simulator, Plymouth University is providing a busy programme of activities for a group of children from the Ukrainian city of Chernobyl.

The trip is part of a month-long visit organised by the Plymouth & District branch of the Chernobyl Children’s Life Line, which works to bring children affected by the nuclear disaster to the UK for recuperative breaks.

It’s the seventh year the children have visited the city and the University, and this year the visit has already included a tour around the Marine Building, exploring nature in Drake’s Place Gardens and playing games on the lawn.

Elaine Budd, Community Engagement Co-ordinator, said: 

“It is wonderful to see the city join together to give these children such a welcoming and enriching experience. We take simple things such as a breath of clean air or uncontaminated food for granted, yet these children gain so much from it.”

The children stay with host families in the UK for a month each year offering recuperation to those who still to this day suffer the after-effects of the nuclear disaster at the power plant in Chernobyl in 1986. 

During their visit to Plymouth, the children receive vital medical care, the chance to breath in clean air and eat and drink uncontaminated food. 

Kerry Jones from the Chernobyl Children’s Life Line charity, said: 

“The fallout of the Chernobyl disaster left long-term side effects such as cancer and deformities, which are still being felt to this day. If the villagers are not suffering the effects of diseases, they are eating contaminated food which weakens their immune systems. This break, which includes access to health care, can boost their life expectancy by as much as two years.”

The children have a packed schedule ahead of them including days out to some of the regions beaches before they travel home at the end of the month.