A few weeks ago, Luke MacGregor of Reuters captured a series of fabulous photographs of Tower Bridge, seen from the South Bank of the Thames, with a full moon behind it. My personal favourite is shown below; you can see the whole set here.
Can you imagine looking through your hotel window and seeing that? An amazing view, one of my all-time London favourites. You would expect a view like that to come with a price tag.
In a month’s time, on 5th October 2012, I shall be staying in a hotel for the night, on the south bank of the Thames, with that precise view. It won’t quite be a full moon, though — that particular event would have taken place five days earlier, on 30th September.
The hotel I’ll be staying at is somewhat unusual. The bedrooms don’t have any minibars or TVs. No attached baths or showers either. No beds. No walls. An unusual hotel indeed.
The hotel does have some attractive features, nevertheless. Ceilings that look amazingly like the sky at night. Very realistic. Because they are the sky at night.
It’s a hotel where the homeless stay. In the open air. On the banks of the Thames. With no mattress in sight. And traditional English weather. In October.
I’ve been going to this hotel once a year for some years now, with a bunch of good friends. We spend one night every year underneath the stars, whatever the weather, to raise funds for Action For Children, and more particularly in their drive to help homeless youth. It’s easy for us, because we only do it for one night. And we all know we have warm beds to go to later, hot food, running water and the company of family and friends.
We’re trying to make it a little bit easier for those kids who leave home, often without choice, and suddenly have to fend for themselves in an alien and usually hostile environment.
The event is called Byte Night, and it’s been happening for fifteen years or so now. I’ve had the privilege of meeting some of the people who’ve been helped by the charity over the years, and each one of them had an incredible story to tell.
As a whole we in the IT community have done well out of being part of the community, and events like this give us the opportunity to give something back.
So if you’re reading this, and you feel the urge to help, we’ve made it very simple.
Just follow this link. And donate whatever you can. Give, and give generously. Please.
Since it began, Byte Night has raised over £4.3m, and it is our collective goal to hit the £5m mark this year. You know what the economic environment has been like these past years, and you know the likely impact on youth homeless.
So give. Give as much as you can. Please.