Thursday, August 11, 2011 - 11:09

A group of children from Belarus, whose whole region was affected by the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster, visited the Eden Project as part of their annual three-week stay in Cornwall.

The group of 14, aged 10 to 18 years old, came to the UK for a respite break with the help of the Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline charity. Their few weeks in the UK not only offer them the experience of a different country and culture, but doctors believe it gives them additional strength and improved health.


While visiting Eden, the group took a tour through the undergrowth of the Rainforest Biome, had a go at den building and visited Eden’s orchards and bee hives. The children also took part in the Festival of Play activities, where they learnt tricks such as hoola-hooping and juggling in a circus skills workshop run by performers from the NoFit State circus. Eden also arranged for the children to see Labyrinth, the circus show that is taking place across the Eden site during the summer.

The visit has been supported by the Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS). They feel passionately about helping the work of the charity because many fire-fighters and their families were affected by the disaster in Belarus. The CFRS help to source host families for the children, who stay in and around Cornwall, as well as raising money to take the children on days out, such as visits to Eden.

Phil Cooper, who works as a liaison between the Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline and CFRS said: “ It’s great that the Eden Project supports Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service in giving the children a chance to sample some of the best that Cornwall has to offer. These experiences will last a lifetime."

Mark Paterson, Eden’s Tertiary Education Co-ordinator, said: “The annual visit of children from Belarus is always a positive and hugely satisfying day. Each year the overwhelming support of the St. Austell Community Fire Station personnel and Eden staff is magnified by the smiles and energy of the children themselves. While the Chernobyl disaster may have occurred a quarter of a century ago, the effects of radiation and poor health continue in the Belarus region.

For the Eden Project to be part of the children’s summer programme and to help give them positive and fun-filled memories is a very humbling experience – reminding us all of the dominant human spirit to help one another, while needing to match our global needs with energy demands.“

For more information on the work that the Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service does with the Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline, go to: