For those who thought that 2012 was getting slightly too London-centric, I have some good news. Put down your javelin, dust off your sleeping bag and get ready for Belfast 2012.
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Byte Night is this year launching a Belfast sleep-out in addition to events in Cambridge, Edinburgh, London and Reading, due to rising demand from charity sleepers. We are confident this new addition will help us to smash through the £5m fundraising mark since the event began.
Since registration opened just over a month ago, we have recruited more than 700 sleepers to take part in this year’s event across the UK – almost double the number of sleepers at this time last year. It also means that we are getting much closer to achieving our target of 1,000 sleepers in 2012.
We are incredibly excited at the prospect of launching a brand new sleep-out, especially in a city as dynamic as Belfast. Byte Night is not just a London-based event; having had sleep-outs in Thames Valley for the last five years, Scotland for the last four years, and Cambridge for the last two years, the regional support we receive from across the UK is phenomenal.
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Each location is managed by its own board – a stellar cast of senior names from the technology and business worlds all working together to help raise thousands of pounds to keep vulnerable young people off the streets and enable them to build better lives for themselves.
Belfast’s burgeoning technology industry is a source of genuine optimism in Northern Ireland. With over a third of Northern Ireland’s workforce employed in the increasingly strained public sector, technology is providing a beacon of hope. We hope to tap into the “can do” attitude of Belfast’s technology start-ups and establish Byte Night Belfast as a key event in the city’s calendar.
Ken Deeks is the founder of Byte Night. Since its inception in 1998, Byte Night has raised more than £4.3m towards Action for Children’s work providing vital help and support to vulnerable young people across the UK. Advice, budgeting skills and counselling, education and training programmes and vital accommodation are given to hundreds of young people at risk of homelessness every year. The Byte Night 2012 sleep out will take place on Friday 5 October. Sign up to sleep-out now at: www.bytenight.org.uk