When registration opened for Byte Night, the technology industry’s annual charity sleep-out event, earlier this year on 16 May, we set ourselves some pretty ambitious targets. “This year is going to be a record-breaking year,” we said.
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We were confident that we could attract a record number of sleepers, who would raise a record number of pounds, and help us amass more than £5m since the event began 15 years ago. Over four months later and with a day to go, where do we stand?
This year is set to be the biggest Byte Night ever. On Friday 5 October, more than 1100 people will take to their sleeping bags at events across the UK, including Cambridge, Edinburgh, London, Reading and, for the first time this year, Belfast. The events in Cambridge, London and Reading, have proved so popular that we are running out of space, which when you’re sleeping outside is quite an achievement.
How could we be certain back in May that this year would prove so popular? Byte Night has grown year-on-year for the last 15 years and we were fairly confident this year would be no different.
Read more about Byte Night 2012
However, the response we have received from our supporters has been astounding. The backing that we have received from across the IT industry and beyond has helped us grow over 15 years into a national event, with locations across the UK, all united by the desire to help vulnerable children and young people at risk of homelessness.
That support extends far beyond just recruiting a record of number of sleepers and ensuring there are people in sleeping bags on the night. This year we have seen our supporters go to extraordinary lengths to raise funds for Action for Children, including some hardy types who swam from Europe to Asia, cycled a stage of the Tour de France and completed six triathlons in six months. And some of our more creative supporters have hosted singles nights, taken their dogs to work for the day, and persuaded their colleagues to part with their pounds through some truly terrible singing. Knowing that we can call on this support each year, is what keeps Byte Night going from record-breaking year, to record breaking year.
There is still a long way to go and while we are equally confident that we can rely on our supporters to help us smash our fundraising target, we are going to need everyone to dig deep one last time. So if you are joining us on Friday, or know someone who is, please help us to make this a truly memorable 15th birthday.
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. For more details, visit: www.bytenight.org.uk .