Byte Night, an annual fundraising event where people from all corners of the IT community come together to sleep out under the stars and raise money for charity, is happening on Friday 6 October.
The event will raise money for Action for Children, and this year has already raised £439,000. Donations can be made here.
James Robbins, CIO of Drax and chair of the Newcastle chapter of Byte Night, spoke to V3 about the charity and its aims.
James Robbins: "I come from a small family with few relatives. My mum and dad separated when I was a baby. In the late ‘70s, you were a bit of a pariah if your parents were separated. I didn't think much of it at the time, but it shaped me as a person. I then lost my father when I was 13.
"I was lucky though to be in another stable unit, with my mum and her partner. That made me the person I am today, and as successful as I am today. But others are less lucky.
"This charity, Action for Children, supports foster carers and parents of children with disability, but it's also preventative. It works in areas where the local authorities are bankrupt, and it helps with support services. It's about being there when things go wrong. If something had happened to my mother or step-dad when I lived with them I could've become homeless. So for me it's about 'what if'.
"Becoming a dad a couple of years ago for first time, I was in Newcastle with my Russian wife, and she had just lost her father. So we're quite isolated, and I thought what if something happened to me, what would happen to my daughter? We live in smaller family units today than ever before, and we don't think of the domino effect if something happens in your life. This charity is trying to think ahead and provide for that.
This is a night where we do that good charity work and we come together. Over 1,500 people will be there on one night in 10 cities. We will hopefully raise over £1.5m for Action for Children.
"I chair the North East, which means I run the Newcastle sleep out, which is the second biggest after London. We will have 250 people there on the night. We've just broken through £50,000 and it's not even the night yet, so we will probably raise over £100,000 for Action for Children.
"The Byte Night website tells you how to get involved. Anyone in IT can come along and do it. It's doing something good, and it's networking. And it's not just about the night, we have meetings, concerts, coffee mornings, cycle rides and other activities. Every IT team I've managed, they're into music and they like cycling, so it's perfect!
"In Newcastle last year, which was its first year, we raised £66,000. We used that to set up an independent volunteering scheme with foster carers and people working in homes supporting women who are separated from their families. So they get respite, and someone else looks after their children.
"It's a volunteering scheme established on back of what we did last year. This year we're trying to get past £100,000 so we can get two of those. And everything's based locally around the city."
You can sponsor James directly here. The money raised will go to Action for Children
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