Boycott your Bed: An interview with founder, Ken Deeks

Photo of Elijah Cruz against blank wall
Elijah Cruz - Digital Communications Officer
Monday 15 April 2024
Group of people at Byte Night event. They are outside, Smiling and laughing and are surrounded by sleeping bags and umbrellas

Boycott your Bed, our annual fundraiser event, is set to return in 2024 to help raise vital funds for vulnerable children and young people.

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For over 25 years, Action for Children supporters have raised an incredible £13.9 million by giving up their bed for a night. We spoke to Ken Deeks, founder of Boycott your Bed, about the history and success of the event. Ken told us what inspired him to create this fundraising event and shared some of his favourite moments.

Q: What made you create this event 27 years ago?

In Ken's words:

"Action for Children was running a campaign called: 'Let’s End Youth Homelessness by the Year 2000.' At the time, I was running a tech PR agency, and working with IT clients who were making money from their own Year 2000 deadline. I saw that Action for Children were campaigning, so, I came up with the idea of creating a sponsored charity sleepout for the IT sector. It was called Byte Night before changing its name to Boycott your Bed to reflect the wider audience we were beginning to attract."

Q: Why do companies love Boycott your Bed so much?

"Firstly, it's a brilliant, easy-to-do team-building event. Sleeping out in the open with your team is a wonderful way to get to know them. Secondly, you know that together you're doing something good, and that the money raised will make a difference to vulnerable young people in the UK."

Boycott your Bed LIVE 2022 Sleepers sitting outside in their sleeping bags smiling

Q: What's your favourite memory of Boycott your Bed?

"There are so many. One moment I remember was when I interviewed a young man on stage about his life. He shared how he'd been a young carer for his mother, had to look after his younger siblings, and how Action for Children provided him with much-needed respite. He told me that he'd spent that valuable respite time revising for his exams. When I asked him about his future, he announced that he’d just been accepted to study medicine at Manchester University. What a difference Action for Children made to that young man. Everyone in the audience was cheering and crying at the same time."

Q: How do you feel when you wake up in the morning after boycotting your bed?

"Amazing, just amazing. You wake up, look around, and see the other sleepers beginning to stir, and there's this euphoric feeling that you've made a difference."

It makes me cry with joy every year.

Ken Deeks
BYB London St Pauls sleepers 2023

Q: What would you tell someone that was thinking of taking part?

"Stop thinking and just do! You only regret the things you don’t do it. Read the above and ask yourself: 'why wouldn’t I?'"

We enjoyed chatting to Ken about Boycott your Bed and learning how this amazing event first started. If you think you'd be up for the challenge of giving up your bed for the night, get together with your colleagues and join us.

Group photo of Boycott your Bed LIVE 2022 Belfast Sleepers
Boycott your Bed 2024

Give up your bed for one night on Friday 4th October 2024 and help raise vital funds for vulnerable children.

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