Ed Balls helps Action for Children's 20th 'Byte Night' hit £10m target

Posted by Media team / Friday 27 October 2017 / Fundraising Events Press release
Ed Balls with Action for Children chief executive Sir Tony Hawkhead get ready to bed down at Byte Night London 2017 (1)
  • Action for Children's annual fundraising sleep out 'Byte Night' reaches £1m milestone for fifth year running.

  • Now in its 20th year, the event has raised total of £10m since 1998.

  • A record 1,500 people from top businesses slept out across 10 locations across UK.

  • London event saw Ed Balls, Anthea Turner, Jenny Agutter OBE and former Dragon’s Den star Richard Farleigh join the charity’s chief executive Sir Tony Hawkhead to sleep rough for one night.

Action for Children’s 'Byte Night' sleep out has raised over £10m since 1998, and more than £1m for the fifth year running. With funds still coming in and the grand total to be announced at the end of November, the £1m mark was passed just a few weeks after the event took place on 6 October.

More than 1,500 hardy sleepers from the tech and corporate worlds slept under the stars at 10 sites across the UK. In London, Action for Children chief executive Sir Tony Hawkhead and 250 sleepers were joined by celebrity supporters including actor Jenny Agutter OBE (from BBC TV’s Call the Midwife), former Shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls, journalist and broadcaster, Angela Rippon, and TV presenter, Anthea Turner. 

Sir Tony Hawkhead said: “I’m delighted we've already broken through the million pound barrier. With lots more donations still to come, we’re hoping for a record year and with it the chance to invest even more money in tackling children’s homelessness and its causes.”

Ken Deeks MBE, Byte night founder, said: “News that Byte Night has raised £1m so far in 2017 is wonderful and means that Action for Children can do even more to prevent youth homelessness. When we started almost 20 years ago we could never have imagined that it would still be running, and becoming more successful year-on-year as it continues to grow. This has been an emotional and inspiring journey for me personally and I want to thank all the thousands of sleepers and board members, past and present, along with the dedicated Action for Children staff, who have made the event such a success.”

Alastair Brown, chief executive officer at Lombard Risk, and London Byte Night board co-chair: “This year’s Byte Night was particularly distinctive for me, and for my colleagues on the London Board, as we’re celebrating the 20th sleepout in the capital. We had more people sleeping out than ever before – raising more money for Action for Children than ever before, and we’re not finished yet. The night of 6 October in London was cold and the concrete was hard, reminding us all why we take part in this amazing event every year.”

Jenny Agutter OBE, former Dragons Den Richard Farleigh and Anthea Turner bed down for Action for Children

Mike Rebeiro, global head of technology and innovation at Norton Rose Fulbright, and London Byte Night board co-chair, said: “The London total stands at an amazing £430,000 so far, which is an incredible achievement by our teams of sleepers and generous supporters. Few issues have more impact on people’s chances of succeeding in life than homelessness. As Action for Children’s young ambassadors told us so movingly on the night, for children and families the impact can be devastating. Unlike our sleepers, thousands of young people across the UK have no warm bed waiting at home. If they manage to sleep, they wake up to another day searching for a hot meal and somewhere to sleep the next night. This is why we must never stop raising money and doing everything we can to help.” 

To find out more about Byte Night 2018 and how to take part, visit bytenight.org.uk or contact the Byte Night team on [email protected]




Media contact: Martin Gavin - 07887 633 437 / [email protected]  


  • Byte Night is one of the top 25 UK fundraising events and has raised more than £9 million since it launched in 1998. This year, simultaneous sleep outs took place in Belfast, Bristol, Birmingham, Cambridge, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, Manchester, Newcastle and Thames Valley. The charity operates services such as Dorset Nightstop, which provides emergency accommodation for homeless young people aged between 16-25 years.
  • Action for Children helps children across the UK through fostering or adoption, by intervening early to stop neglect and abuse, by influencing policy, and by making life better for disabled children. With over 600 services the charity improves the lives of 370,000 children, teenagers, parents and carers every year.actionforchildren.org.uk