Northern Ireland tech and business sectors are being urged to brave the elements for an open-air sleep out aimed at raising vital funds to prevent youth homelessness.
Figures show that local authorities in Northern Ireland registered 4,189 young people homeless from 2012 to 2013. Only a fraction of the true number of homeless young people are captured by this statistic as many are not officially recognised by local authorities. It is estimated that 80,000 young people a year experience homelessness in the UK – leaving them vulnerable to violence, mental health problems and addiction.
Now leading charity Action for Children is urging tech and business leaders in Northern Ireland to raise vital funds for vulnerable young people by taking part in Byte Night 2014.
Byte Night Northern Ireland co-chair and Technical Solutions Architect at Cisco Systems Paul Hanna said: “Homelessness can happen to anyone’s child. Families are under a huge amount of pressure and this can affect relationships, with two thirds of children becoming homeless because of family breakdown.
“Some of Northern Ireland’s biggest companies take part in Byte Night, making it a great networking opportunity, as well as a unique way to support some of the most vulnerable young people in our society.”
This year's Byte Night sleep out will take place on Friday October 3rd at the Belfast Activity Centre, Barnett's Stable Yard on the Malone Road.
Companies already signed up include Cisco, Digital Derry, i3 Digital, Kainos, Brightwater, SQS, BT, Eircom, HP, Virgin Media and Liberty IT.
In 2013, Byte Night Northern Ireland raised almost £20,000. This helped fund Action for Children’s work with vulnerable young people across the country, including services supporting those at risk of homelessness.
Byte Night is looking for volunteers not only to give up their time and their bed for the night to raise money, but also to raise awareness of the issues facing homeless young people. To find out more about sleeping out visit bytenight.org.uk.