In a heartbeat, the Olympic Games have come and gone. After years of build-up, relentless hype and nail-biting about whether the transport network could take the strain, the Olympic cauldron burned brightly with the hopes and expectations of sports fans across the globe. Now, as the world turns to the Para Olympians, the excitement builds once more.
The Games appear to have won over even the most cynical among us and following the spectacular opening and closing ceremonies, instilled in us a can do attitude as we realise that we have what it takes to put on the greatest show on earth. For me personally what really struck home is the emphasis that has been placed on the Olympic legacy and how the 2012 Games can be used as a vehicle to improve the lives of youngsters across the UK.
Obviously this is something that resonates with us as we build up to Byte Night's 15th anniversary and we hope to benefit from the community spirit generated by the Games. So far the signs are good. We have seen an astonishing number of people register to take to the streets this October in order to raise money to help keep vulnerable young people off the streets and enable them to build better lives for themselves.
Since registration opened two months ago we have recruited over 970 sleepers - a 45 per cent increase on the number of sleepers that had signed up at the same time last year. These sleepers will take part in events across the UK, including London, Reading, Cambridge, Scotland and, for the very first time, Belfast. While, we are well on our way to registering our target of 1000 sleepers in 2012, we still have a long way to go in terms of converting that headcount into cash. But we are confident that, buoyed by the contagious Olympic optimism, our recruits will help us to achieve a personal best and smash through the £5 million fundraising mark since the event began.
It was a touching moment when past Olympians, delegated their Olympic torches to the younger athletes of tomorrow. We are hoping that each and every one is inspired by the Olympic spirit and can dig deep to help youngsters across the UK to overcome homelessness and realise the world of opportunity that is open to them.
Sign up to sleep-out now at www.bytenight.org.uk