Last October, eight CBRE colleagues swapped the comfort of their beds to sleep out under the stars in Action for Children’s ‘Byte Night’, the UK's biggest national corporate sleepout. The event brings together over 1,500 people across 12 locations, to raise money for homeless young people and this year. Jo Winchester, Executive Director, Valuation & Advisory Services and Miller Mathieson, Managing Director Scotland & Northern Ireland, were part of the CBRE team who participated in the annual event. This is what they had to say about their first Byte Night experience…
“The London sleepout really challenged my perception of homelessness. We listened to one young woman who had a job, but who slept on a night bus, and then queued up at a Sainsbury's café to get ready for work. Action for Children helped her with a rental deposit for a flat. When we slept out, we had the privilege of event security but without this I would have felt very vulnerable. The thing that struck me most was how hard it must be to not even have basic facilities. It would be so difficult to go to school, or get a job if you didn’t have access to a toilet, a place to wash or keep your clothes, or even make a basic meal.” said Jo Winchester
Miller Mathieson added of his experience: "We had some brilliant presentations from young adults in Edinburgh that have benefitted from Action for Children. The two main speakers were both made homeless by a parent. Both are now working towards roles in social care so they can help others that find themselves in a similar situation."
On the night we slept out, although we were lucky with the weather, temperatures dropped to around two degrees and it was very misty - we all needed to keep our heads in the sleeping bags as any exposed areas got very cold very quickly, and most of us got very little sleep due to the noise levels. I can’t imagine what it must be like in worse conditions. The sleepout was so inspiring that everyone at the Edinburgh event added a personal donation.”
Action for Children will use the money raised at Byte Night to help young people who have no alternative but to sleep on the streets every night. This might be because they left the care system aged 16 and have nowhere to go, or have run away from an abusive situation. The stark reality is that one third of foster children become homeless within two years of leaving care.
With the help of Byte Night and CBRE's own #700 Futures project, Action for Children is helping to create safe, stable homes for young people who are in the care system through no fault of their own.
To find out more please visit Action for Children’s Byte night event here.