Report by Sean Morris, UK & Ireland Mayors for Peace Chapter Secretary
Mayors for Peace members Manchester and Stockport hosted a week of special meetings and events for a delegation from the Gomel region of Belarus, in order to understand improving ways to care for vulnerable children and young adults.
The visit was coordinated by Chernobyl Children’s Project UK, a charity which provides annual recuperative holidays for Belarusian children in remission from cancer or immune system illnesses in areas of high contamination in eastern Belarus, heavily affected by the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. For a number of years Chernobyl Children’s Project has also provided humanitarian and medical aid to the Gomel region, and established a children’s hospice and home for children and young adults with disabilities. They have also worked with local health and social care authorities to improve training and understanding of the needs of such children.
As part of this, the Project brought the Vice Governor of the Gomel region, Vladimir Privalov, and senior managers to see a number of innovative care programmes around Manchester and Stockport. This visit concluded with a civic reception for the delegation to meet with the Lord Mayor of Manchester, Councillor June Hitchen, and senior Children’s and Adults’ Services managers from Manchester City Council and the National Health Service.
Greater Manchester has been the first part of the UK to see health and social care services merge, and the delegation wanted to know the benefits and challenges of this process. The visit will help in the improvement of such services back in the Gomel region.