‘Byte Night’ event to tackle homelessness in the UK with a helping hand from Brookes & Co
It was 2009 when Prince William famously ‘slept rough’ overnight in central London, bringing the cause of homelessness in the UK sharply into focus and raising vital awareness for the case of those who spend night after night on Britain’s streets.
And sadly, the situation is still as desperate five years on. Today there are 2,414 people sleeping rough on the streets of the UK, according to government statistics from autumn 2013, up a shocking 37% on the 2010 figure of 1,768.
As a response to this growing problem, on Friday 3rd October, thousands of people will show their support for the cause and take to the streets themselves, sleeping rough for the night and raising money as part of Action for Children’s national event, ‘Byte Night’.
Having launched 16 years ago when 30 individuals from the IT industry slept out, raising £35,000, this year’s event, taking place all around the UK, is expected to see over 1,500 sleepers from the technology and business sectors take part across eight locations, making it the biggest event of its kind, raising over £1 million.
Helping Action for Children’s Byte Night tackle the root causes of homelessness, keeping vulnerable young people off the streets and assisting them to build better lives, are this year’s participants Mike Bell and Chris Pardoe, taking part in the St Paul’s Square, Birmingham event.
Mike Bell, a SVP Strategic Engagement SAP working in the IT industry, was inspired to take part in Byte Night after learning of the growing numbers of people having to take the last resort of sleeping on the streets. He explains,
“I have been involved in supporting this cause as a sponsor for around five years now, but this is the first year I have decided to actively take part. Giving up my own bed for one night is nothing in comparison to the day in, day out, all too real experiences of life on the street, faced by many people. No one individual should be forced to live without safety or shelter, yet since the recession the number of those doing so has risen sharply. I hope that by playing my small part in this year’s Byte Night, I can raise awareness of this growing, desperate situation as well as vital money to support those vulnerable young people at risk of becoming homeless themselves.”
Managing Director of specialist IT company The Know List, Chris Pardoe, places social responsibility high on the list of his company’s objectives. He is proud to be supporting young people through a number of company initiatives, from the creation of a free school in Milton Keynes to provide meaningful work experience for young people, to the upcoming launch of a talent and acquisition division for the company, a recruitment service that will give 20% of its fees to Action for Children, the charity behind Byte Night, as well as an outsourced service that aims to find roles for underprivileged young people.
Sleeping rough himself on 3rd October, Chris explains why he felt compelled to get so personally involved,
“It may sound clichéd, but young people really are our future and I believe that far more needs to be done to support their growth and development, both practically and emotionally, within the vast reaches of our society. The Byte Night event is a tremendous one. Not only is it excellent for raising awareness, all the monies raised will go towards preventative measures to help stop young people having to take to the streets as a way of dealing with their troubled lives. I am very much looking forward to doing my bit.”
Both men are being supported in their Byte Night participation by Essex-based property investment company, Brookes & Co, with Mike having previously purchased property through the company. Providing clients with opportunities to invest wisely in property developments, both in the UK and overseas, Brookes & Co are keen to uphold their ethos of giving back to local communities and have supported both Mike and Chris with sponsorship for this year’s charity sleep-out.
Managing Director Phillip Button expresses how keen the company were to be involved,
“I think what Mike and Chris are doing to support the Byte Night cause is fantastic and we at Brookes & Co are proud to be able to support them in turn. It is truly shocking that in the modern age there are so many people living rough on Britain’s streets, whether it is through job loss, family breakdown, abuse, violence, neglect, or a whole host of other factors, it is something that needs to be addressed and vital support given to change what, all too often, becomes a downward spiral for many.
“Byte Night, and the work being done by Action for Children, is making a real difference to the lives of vulnerable young people, at risk of ending up resorting to a life on the street; providing accommodation, education, training and care to those most at risk individuals and helping to give them the strength to work towards positive futures. What an amazing cause, and one we are honoured to support.”
To learn more about Byte Night and to support the cause, visit www.bytenight.org.uk