Sleeping Out For Byte Night

John Smith

Byte Night is the UK’s largest national corporate sleepout event, with individuals and teams sleeping out to raise vital funds to help prevent youth homelessness. Representing our Leeds centre; Robyn Waugh, Gemma Phillips, Lucie Leroy, Lyndsey McGuire, Orla Walsh and Aimee Kowzan took part in the event and collectively raised an incredible £3,000 for Action for Children. Today we hear from Robyn Waugh about the experience.

What to say about our soggy sleep out – well it was just that! We braved the torrential rain in order to raise awareness for young and vulnerable people who are currently, or at risk of, sleeping rough. Action for Children works with different projects in order to help support and guide service users to give them a better future.

After Maisie from Action for Children visited the Leeds Academy, we were inspired to take part because of the issues many young people face daily. We formed a team of sleepers and were assisted by Rebecca Suilvan, our assessment centre coordinator, who acted as a volunteer on the night, FDM’s Assessment Centre Coordinator, who helped on the night volunteering with the events team to ensure the smooth running of the event.

I think it’s safe to say we were all slightly worried as the rain began in the morning and it didn’t show any signs of stopping, even as we headed out the door armed with our roll mats, sleeping bags and warm layers. After a quick trip to the local shop for midnight sweets and crisps, we headed across to Elland Road to take part in the pre-sleep out fun.

After some prize-winning games and an auction, we were fed and watered and sent on our way out into the extremely wet carpark. We picked a spot and set up our big red umbrellas, rolled out our mats and climbed in to our foil covered sleeping bags. We kept ourselves protected from the heavy downpour with the loan of a taupe sheet from the ex-forces team!

There was a lot of laughter from our end of the camp throughout the night, which was a definite morale boost. It was great to share the experience with my fellow colleagues and it really brought home why we were there at 4.30am in the freezing cold weather. By this time our foil bags were filling with water which had gathered underneath where we pitched camp!

We stuck it out until the clock struck 5:30am, at which point we were exhausted, cold and super soaked. We packed up our soggy belongings and headed home. This was a sombre moment as we were well aware that there were children out there going through this without the possibility of returning to a nice warm house. More evidence of why we signed up for the event originally.

We are so pleased to have reached our target of £3,000. We did this through several fundraising events for FDMers in our office, including running a couple of community soup kitchens, a Halloween Fayre, dress down days and a raffle. Gemma Phillips also hosted a champagne afternoon tea which went down a treat. Of course, we couldn’t have done it without further generous donations from colleagues, friends and family, and a final donation from FDM. We are so proud to have raised this impressive amount for a worthy cause.

If you’d like to hear more about their story and donate, click here.

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