Child abuse sufferer delivers moving speech during Action for Children’s ‘Byte Night’ sleep out in Manchester

A child abuse sufferer delivered a moving speech as Manchester residents slept under the stars to raise money for charity.

Over 150 people swapped the warmth of their beds for the cold floors outside the Museum of Science and Industry to support Action for Children during ‘Byte Night’ last week.

The charity’s belief is that ‘every child should have a safe and loving place to call home’ and Beth, a speaker on the night, is someone that has experienced their vital aid.

It is estimated that 300,000 children are forced to sleep on the streets each year and the £1.4 million raised by this nationwide event in 2015 supports various projects that intervene and tackle youth homelessness.

This was the third time the event, which was held on the cobbles of Coronation Street last year, has taken place in Manchester.

So far it has raised £45,000 and that figure is only set to rise following the most recent fundraiser.

Brave Beth is someone that was saved by Action for Children at the age of 13 after living through a childhood that often featured physical abuse from her stepdad.

Beth spoke with confidence on stage telling the 150 captivated participants about being expelled from school in Year 8 and how she was considering running away from her fractious home life.

Instead, Action for Children were able to intervene early to help diagnose her ADHD and set goals for Beth to get on a road to recovery.

Now Beth has a job – with a recent promotion she was keen to add – and has her own aspirations to one day work for Action for Children to help those that end up in a similar position to where she was just a few years ago.

The event known as ‘Byte Night’ was one of ten simultaneous sleep outs across the country and is the largest event of its kind in the UK.

On the night itself there were fun and games, a well-stocked bar and participants ready for a good time.

However, amongst the good humour there were plenty of reminders of why the sleep out was taking place.

Various members of the Byte Night North board took to the stage during the night to reveal heart-wrenching stories about children that have suffered in the North West.

Damian Pettit, co-chair of Byte Night North West, explained: “Youth homelessness is not getting worse, but it’s certainly not getting better fast enough either.

“It’s not through any fault of anybody’s own. There are maybe two or three things that happen in conjunction where people can fall off the rails.

“Then once you are off it is really difficult to get back on. That is why we are trying to work with charities that intervene before children have fallen off the rails.”

Once the speeches had come to a close it was time for the participants to head outside and spend the night under the stars on a cold, but dry night outside the famous museum.

Chris Colesall, co-chair of Byte Night North West, said: “Trust, support and someone to rely on. Three things that are vital for children, and the things this charity can provide for the children that need them.

“After tonight, we will all still go back to our homes and support networks. That is not the case for the children that need our help.”

For every £1 donated to Action for Children, 96p goes directly towards helping people who are young and vulnerable.

The Byte Night team and volunteers are keen to remind people that they will still be raising money even after this successful event.

Damian added: “We’ll continue raising funds for the rest of the year, have Christmas off and then start planning again for next year.”

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