Team members from Yell’s Reading Head Office supported the work of Action for Children this month by taking part in the Thames Valley Byte Night on Friday 7 October.
Byte Night is a national charity sleep-out in aid of Action for Children’s work with vulnerable young people across the UK. The event sees people from the technology and business sectors giving up their beds and sleeping outside for one night.
According to Action for Children, 80,000 young people find themselves homeless every year, often as a result of family breakdown, mental health issues and abuse in the home. Money raised by Byte Night goes towards programmes to support these young people towards a happy and secure future.
Yell’s team raised £3,950.94 for the charity in just over two weeks, beating their initial target of £2,500. The team was made up of five Yell colleagues from across our business: Head of SEO Jurga Sefton, Software Developer Sam Lukes, Brand and Asset Development Manager Kirsty Cruxton, Campaign Management Executive Kathryn Owers and Keith Hinde, IT consultant in Yell’s R&D division, who helped put the team together.
Donations came from the team’s friends and family, as well as from colleagues across Yell, who sponsored each member through their JustGiving team page.
The Thames Valley Byte Night event took place in Reading’s Forbury Gardens, a public park a very short distance from Yell’s Headquarters, making this event particularly relevant for our team, and for the business.
“Yell’s Head Office building overlooks the spot where we slept in Forbury Gardens,” said team organiser Keith Hinde. “In many cases, people would unknowingly walk past the event to get home on that particular evening each year. The funds raised at Thames Valley Byte Night go towards funding some critical projects in our region, and helping some of our most vulnerable young people.”
Before heading to Reading’s Forbury Gardens for the sleep out, all Byte Night attendees took part in fundraising raffles, auctions and a quiz, over a group dinner at the nearby St Laurence Church in Reading.
Here, the team heard how their donations will make a difference to Action for Children from Byte Night founder Ken Deeks MBE and Thames Valley Event Chair Sally Hanson. They also heard first hand how the work of Action for Children can make a difference with a talk from one of the charity’s young ambassadors, who was helped by a Byte Night-funded project in Newbury, West Berkshire.
According to Keith: “His story brought home how easy it is for young people to end up homeless and his progress since coming under Action for Children’s wing is nothing short of inspiring. This really made us appreciate how fortunate we are to have never been put in such a position and also to resolve to do our best to help prevent it in the future.”
For team member Kirsty Cruxton, taking part in the event really helped her to understand the work behind Action for Children: “We heard some heart-breaking stories that I found hard to contemplate. It made my arrival home to my husband and two young daughters the next morning quite emotional.”
Kirsty also achieved the feat of raising the largest individual amount as part of the Yell team. “I’m completely blown away by the support we have had,” she said. “After hearing how some young people have been treated by their own families, I feel very fortunate to have such caring and generous friends, family and colleagues. I’m really proud of what we’ve managed to achieve in just two weeks.”
Byte Night has been running since 1998 and has since grown to become one of the UK’s top 20 mass participation charity events. It now takes place in 10 UK locations with over 1,200 participants and over £8.4 million raised since the first event.
Taking part served as a strong reminder for our team, and for all Yell colleagues who supported them, of the 80,000 young people who end up homeless every year and experience similar, and often tougher conditions. “However uncomfortable it gets, Byte Night is about choosing just one night of discomfort to try and help those who don’t have that choice,” explained Keith.
Yell’s fundraising for Byte Night is open until the end 2016, so donations are still welcome. If you’d like to donate to the Yell Byte Night campaign you can do so at their JustGiving team page.
See more photos from Yell’s Byte Night
All images courtesy of Carli at AdbyCreative Images