NEARLY 100 Thames Valley business people slept out in single figure temperatures to raise money for leading UK children’s charity, Action for Children, last week.

Teams from companies large and small across the region including CrowdStrike, Barclays, Tech4Pets and Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce braved the cold at Forbury Gardens on Friday October 4.

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The event, Byte Night, is run by Action For Children and has become the UK's largest corporate sleepout event.

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Participants in Reading joined nearly 1,100 others simultaneously sleeping out across 11 locations up and down the UK.

Chair of the Thames Valley Byte Night board and Sunningdale resident, Sally Hanson, said: “It’s always a big challenge, but in the morning, everyone went home to their warm beds – but there are too many young people in the Thames Valley who are living without this choice.

“No child or young person should have to face the trauma of homelessness - they shouldn’t be sofa surfing, they shouldn’t be in B&Bs, and they certainly shouldn’t be on the streets.

"This is a critical issue in our region, as it is across the country, and Byte Night is a chance to support some of the young people in our society who need it most.

“One night really can make a lifetime’s difference and funds raised will help us support children and young people to have a safe and happy childhood.”

Reading Chronicle:

Organisers are aiming to raise £1million nationally in support of Action for Children services, including The Grove in Aylesbury which provides residential short breaks supporting young people with learning disabilities and complex needs.

Government figures show there are currently more than 126,000 homeless children across the UK.

And research from Action for Children reveals that poverty and homelessness is one of the top three current issues that children in Thames Valley are concerned about.

More than half (54%) of children in the region said they are worried about people suffering because they don’t have enough money, and are at risk of homelessness.

In its 150th year, Action for Children warns of an emerging childhood crisis, with young people facing unparalleled social pressures at the same time as a drastic reduction in children’s services.

Action for Children’s chief executive, Julie Bentley, said: “We want every child to have a safe and happy childhood, but sadly too many young people are falling into homelessness which leaves lasting scars on their mental health, education and relationships with friends and family.

“Our critical work with vulnerable young people and families helps prevent the tragedy of homelessness by tackling the issues that can lead to young people ending up without a roof over their heads.

"From individual support for teenagers to working with families facing difficulties, our frontline services can prevent problems from spiralling out of control.

“The country is facing a crisis of childhood and every penny raised from Byte Night helps Action for Children support some of our most vulnerable children and families.

"But we are also urging the government to take urgent steps to tackle the root causes of the problem by establishing a National Childhood Strategy to ensure all vulnerable children are well and safe.”