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  1. ITV Report

Businesses hold 'sleepout' to raise money for children's charity

Braving the elements during Byte Night Credit: Action for Children

Nearly 100 business people slept out in single figure temperatures on Friday (4 October) at a Thames Valley event to raise money for the UK children’s charity, Action for Children. It was the IT industry's annual 'sleepout', called Byte Night.

Teams from companies large and small across the region including CrowdStrike, Barclays, RSM UK, Tech4Pets, Intelex and Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce braved the cold at Forbury Gardens in Reading, joining nearly 1,100 others sleeping out across 11 locations up and down the UK.

Organisers are aiming to raise £1 million nationally in support of Action for Children services, including The Grove in Aylesbury which provides residential short breaks, supporting young people with learning disabilities and complex needs.

Sleeping out during 'Byte Night' Credit: Action for Children

There are believed to be more than 126,000 homeless children across the UK. And research² from Action for Children reveals that poverty and homelessness is one of the top three current issues that children in the Thames Valley are concerned about. More than half (54%) of children in the region said they are worried about people suffering because they don’t have enough money, and are at risk of homelessness.

In its 150th year, Action for Children says there is an emerging childhood crisis, with young people facing unparalleled social pressures at the same time as a drastic reduction in children’s services.

Celebrating the success of Byte Night Credit: Action for Children

It’s always a big challenge, but in the morning, everyone went home to their warm beds. There are too many young people in the Thames Valley who are living without this choice.

No child or young person should have to face the trauma of homelessness - they shouldn’t be sofa surfing, they shouldn’t be in B&Bs, and they certainly shouldn’t be on the streets. This is a critical issue in our region, as it is across the country, and Byte Night is a chance to support some of the young people in our society who need it most.

One night really can make a lifetime’s difference and funds raised will help us support children and young people to have a safe and happy childhood.

– Sally Hanson, chair, Thames Valley Byte Night