Last Friday was Byte Night. Every year, people from the industry sleep out “rough” for one night. Their aim? To raise funds for NCH’s projects to do with leaving care and youth homelessness.
This year I was privileged. Privileged to take part, privileged to have a number of my colleagues with me, privileged to be sponsored to the tune of over Â£12,000.Â When we added in the money collected from our donations to the auctions, and from our participation in the auction itself, we were not far off our original target of Â£25,000.
Last Friday was an incredible experience. Not for the sleeping out rough per se: we only experienced a very small, almost infinitesimal part of what young homeless really experience. But what we did experience mattered:
- We understood a tiny bit about being out in the open and cold and hungry. Thankfully, we had a dry night.
- We understood a little bit about the role of care and support in providing youth homeless with an anchor in difficult times. How food and clothing and shelter and a shoulder to lean on really mattered.
- We understood something about how organisations like NCH can help provide this care and support. They were magnificent. The entire evening was special. Particularly the street theatre put on by people who’ve been helped by NCH.
And we understood something very important, how community matters. The camaraderie amongst the sleepers-out was amazing. There were some crazy moments and some great conversations.
We also learnt something about humility, as we watched the tireless devotion, good-humouredness and energy of the people who made events like this happen. People like the staff of NCH. People like Jenny Agutter, who’s been there eight of the last 10 years. People like James Bennet, the founder of ETF now with Ernst and Young, who’s been committed to roping in people from all over the industry.
My thanks to all of you, for your incredible generosity. I intend to go back next year; let me know if any of you is interested in joining me, or in helping in any way.
An aside: I also learnt something about justgiving, how it worked, how useful it was, and I was impressed. Now that’s the way to make fundraising simpler…..