Each year, over 500 IT and business community professionals give up their beds for one night to experience a little of what it might be like to be homeless on the streets of London. It all began 11 years ago when 30 individuals from the IT industry slept out and raised £35,000. Since then the event has grown and in 2008, 500 sleepers raised £470,000. All the money raised is in support of Action for Children to raise awareness of the work of the charity. In 2009, a team from GFI UK is hoping to raise £5,000 for this worthwhile and very important cause.

You can sponsor the GFI team by visiting http://www.justgiving.com/gfisoftware/ – every bit counts and is appreciated, by us and by Action for Children.

Founded in 1869, Action for Children is one of the UK’s largest children’s charities working with nearly 170,000 children, young people and their families at nearly 450 projects across the UK. Previously known as NCH, Action for Children is committed to helping the most vulnerable children and young people break through injustice, deprivation and inequality so that they can achieve their full potential.

“I became involved with Byte Night by accident when an email arrived from Action for Children asking for sponsorship.  My children were in their early 20s at the time and I looked into what Byte Night was about in quite some detail and became hooked on the cause. Over the years, I have met with a number of the young people who have been helped directly through this fund raising effort, plus visited two of the centres in London where Action for Children support disadvantaged young people who through no-fault of their own have no-one to help them. I have always been moved by the stories from the young people and personally challenged by how difficult life had become for some young people. I believe strongly that Byte Night has helped many youngsters and families as a direct result of my taking 1 night of discomfort and cold to raise awareness of their plight; a small price to pay really!

I have to admit that my views of people on the streets have changed significantly since I became involved. I used to think that most people on the streets were there because they made a choice to leave home; it was very clear that for the majority of young people, sleeping on the streets was a last resort and their only escape from a life which was even worse. Meeting these young people and hearing the stories of abuse, mis-trust and family breakdown is very moving and as a result I believe very strongly in this yearly event as I have realised how fortunate I have been through my life.”

This year, a team has come together from GFI UK (Angela Leech, Janie Stone, Aytac Cemal, Roger Miquel, Brian Malins & Tristan Brinkman) to take part; they are actively fund raising and asking for sponsorship from their friends, colleagues and customers; a small donation of £5 pays for emergency overnight support for a young person living on the streets.  

If you would like to know more about Byte Night then please visit http://www.bytenight.org.uk/index.cfm

If you would like to sponsor the GFI team, then you can through our JustGiving page at http://www.justgiving.com/gfisoftware/