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Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Byte Night

May 18 2009
Geeks and nerds will bed down next to Tower Bridge to raise funds for a youth homelessness charity Readers may find themselves bedding down with 'geeks' in October. 'Nerds' across the UK are taking part in the IT industry's annual sleep-out for homelessness on 5th October. Byte Night will see around 250 IT professionals bedding down next to Tower Bridge, raising an estimated £325,000 for youth homelessness charity NCH. IT execs Ken Deeks and James Bennet first organised the event back in 1998 and have raised a total of £1.3m for the charity. "Sleeping out for one night is obviously worlds apart from being homeless," said Mr Bennet. "But it is noisy and uncomfortable and a powerful way of showing people what it's like not to have a bed." Aside from the mass sleepout in London, this year also sees the launch of Byte Night Local to coincide with the main event. Participants can choose to kip in their back gardens or behind office buildings instead. While having a nap on your back lawn hardly constitutes sleeping rough, money is money: "We are using the funds raised to help finance our outreach projects," said Myles Bremner, interim director of fundraising at NCH. "We support young people leaving care and those at risk of homelessness to try and prevent them becoming homeless in the first place." The techies are being supplied with "survival packs" to help them make it through the night. Their bivvy bag contains a hat, a toothbrush, an umbrella, and a few other odds and ends, though participants have to bring their own sleeping bags. "We are not spending valuable funds on luxury items," said Mr Bennet. "Between 90 and 95 per cent of the money raised will go to NCH." So, if you are out and about in Tower Bridge and you find the place swarming with tech-bods, do not be alarmed. They are nice people, taking a break from their air-conditioned lives to experience the thrill of a night out in the elements.