Byte Night was first brought to the attention of TeamARM (ARM’s global teambuilding and fundraising network) in 2011 by an enthusiastic employee. It appealed to us as, not only does the money raised support projects which help keep young and vulnerable people off the streets, it’s also an unusual event, very different from anything else TeamARM has done.
In 2011 we managed to get a team of 12 sleepers together. This year we were determined to go bigger and better…and we succeeded! A group of 20 ARM employees, ranging from Graduate Engineers to VPs, signed up to take part. The team met up in mid-September, and agreed an ambitious fundraising target of £10,000.
We set about fundraising both individually and as a team, and held two very popular events internally. The first event, “The Great Byte Night Bake Off”, saw dozens of talented ARM bakers providing goods for their colleagues to enjoy.
We had four tables filled with cake and people queuing up to donate, eat and vote. This got our team fundraising off the ground but we weren’t at our £10,000 target just yet.
On the week of the sleep out two things happened to change this. The first was that we held a sell-out pub quiz in our Cambridge HQ Atrium. The second change was in the weather! As we came to the final days before the sleep out, the sunshine vanished and clouds began to appear. A chill arrived in the air, and we knew it was probably going to be colder and wetter than last year. The good news was that as rain became more certain, donations from colleagues, friends and family increased as our supporters realised that we would be sleeping out whatever the weather.
The event itself takes place in two parts, an indoor (warm!) reception, followed by the sleep out. On 5th October the team arrived at the Cambridge Science Park for the indoor part of the evening where we met team members from the other 20+ Cambridge companies taking part.
We enjoyed bidding on auction items, battling in the quiz and eating a bellyful of hot food. The rain started shortly after we arrived, but we were in a blissful state of ignorance about how wet it actually was. But as we headed out to the sleeper site, we knew we were in for a tough night.
Unlike last year, there was no standing around chatting, playing guitar, or reading storybooks. It was grab a bivy bag and an umbrella and bed down to try and get some rest. The warmest and driest of us were able to get about four hours of sleep, however some of us faired much worse, getting no sleep at all after getting wet through. We recalled a video we’d been shown that evening. In the video a young lad called Jay talks of his experience of being homeless, and how money raised through Byte Night helped him get back on his feet. One of the things he talks about is getting soaking wet, knowing he’d have to wear the same clothes the next day. We were reminded that, unlike Jay, all of us would be returning to our warm houses, hot showers, cosy beds and loving families the next day. This kept our motivation up to endure the night.
By the morning, we were ready to head home, glad to have survived the night, and proud of the team’s effort. What’s more, our fundraising total had tipped over £14,000, which is wonderful, as this money will go to help more young people like Jay. A massive thank you to everyone who has supported us.
The total raised at the Cambridge event is still creeping up, with organisers hoping this will reach around £100,000. Added to the totals raised at the other sleeper sites across the country, it’s anticipated Byte Night 2012 will have raised somewhere in the region of £800,000. Let’s hope Byte Night 2013 will be even bigger and better - and hopefully at least a touch drier!
Jennie Redstall, ARM Internal Communications Manager, has been with ARM for over six years. She is responsible for delivering key internal communications across the business to help keep employees well informed and up to date on the latest ARM news and events. Having grown up with technology (her earliest memory of using a computer was playing Pac-Man on a BBC B) she feels at home working for ARM and loves to learn about the latest product developments. Jennie has been actively involved in TeamARM since its inception, and has helped organise and participated in a variety of fundraisers.
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