CALLING all schools across the region – a children’s charity needs your help.
The Portsmouth and Hayling Island Link of the Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline charity is opposed to government plans to axe a scheme that brings children into the UK for free.
It launched a petition last month in an attempt to reverse the Foreign and Commonwealth Office plans – as reported by The News – and its signatures have more than doubled.
But the charity needs to hit 100,000 names by January and it needs the help of the city’s thousands of school children to ensure it is a success. If it hits the target, the issue could be debated in the House of Commons.
Marian Stapley, chairman of the link and area co-ordinator, said: ‘Our petition is up to 6,300 signatures and is coming along but we need to get 100,000 by January.
‘I need as many schools to get on board with our aim and I think that’s where the numbers will come from.’
Her efforts so far have led to King Richard School in Paulsgrove putting the appeal on its newsletter and Purbrook Park School is holding a non-uniform day.
She added: ‘People say they are the next generation and children should know about the situation.
‘They use computers and it only takes a minute to do the petition online.
‘If I can get the kids in Portsmouth to do it, I would be closer to reaching the target we need to hit.’
From March 31 next year, the visa scheme will mean the charity has to pay out an extra £86 on top of the fundraising members carry out throughout the year.
The charity, which was set up nationally by Victor Mizzi 20 years ago, brings children over from the nuclear disaster-stricken region of the Ukraine and Belarus a month at a time to give them a lease of life.
The visits include trips to local schools to interact with other youngsters and learn new skills.
Mrs Stapley said: ‘I bring the children over in June and part of the visit is two school sessions, which is usually PE or music. They love meeting new children and when they are aged 10 and 11 there is no language barrier.’
If you would like to sign the charity’s e-petition, visit http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/37945.