Belfast business-man joins mountaineer scaling new heights to sleep out suspended from Dragonstone cliff edge

Posted By:
MCS Group

23rd Jun 2021

MCS Group’s Barry Smyth is set to take on the challenge of a lifetime at Fair Head, County Antrim, ditching his bed to spend a night sleeping out in a suspended portaledge with the hope of raising funds to help young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Paul Kellagher, children’s services manager for Action for Children, is boycotting his bed on 9th July for the second year running, taking on new heights this year, ditching his duvet to sleep on a portaledge suspended from a 100-metre cliff edge at Fair Head in County Antrim.

Novice, Barry Smyth, Managing Director at MCS Group in Belfast, was so impressed by Paul’s efforts last year that he wanted to take on the challenge himself.

The location, also known as ‘Dragonstone’ to Game of Thrones fans, will provide a challenging spot for Paul and Barry to boycott their beds as they join hundreds of others across the UK in support of Action for Children.

The annual fundraiser, taking place on Friday July 9th, sees children, families, friends and colleagues sleeping out in the most unusual places they can think of to raise money for vulnerable children across the UK.

Paul Kellagher is one of Ireland most experienced mountaineers and no stranger to heights, with wide experience mountaineering in the Alps and Mont Blanc. However, he explains, taking a portaledge to a height of 100-metres is a new venture for him, but one that he believes will help him make a huge difference to the lives of those who need it most.

“In the last year our services have gone above and beyond to support young people through the pandemic. Our voluntary income from donations has made a real difference supporting young people’s mental health and a range of other additional needs that arose as a result of the pandemic.

“Unfortunately, we continue to see ever increasing child poverty which has been exacerbated by the pandemic. This year I’ll be sleeping out to continue to support those who have been affected by the pandemic, in particular young people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.”

Action for Children provide services across Northern Ireland, with Paul working in the Fermanagh and Omagh area. As well as raising funds for the charity, Paul also hopes to raise awareness of the issues for young people who are homeless.

“Throughout the pandemic our keywork staff have continued to support young people, many of whom would have really struggled with the impact of lockdown. We were able to continue to support young people through weekly job search emails, CV support, well-being packs, cooking on a budget program and so much more. We saw it as extremely important that we continue connecting with the young people, ensuring they remain positive and had hope for the future throughout the restrictions, as we helped them focus on what would come when they eased.

“Young people are often vulnerable to job insecurity and have been hit hardest in the pandemic. With the help of public donations for Boycott your Bed last year, and previously Byte Night funds, we have been able to add an additional Participation Worker to our service who helped the young people though these challenges.” Paul concluded.

Barry Smyth, Managing Director at MCS Group in Belfast, is setting himself a huge challenge as he takes to the cliff for the first time, as a true novice.

“MCS are so proud to support Action for Children.  The charity does truly amazing work supporting our most vulnerable young people and unfortunately the pandemic has resulted in a massive increase in the difficulties this section of our society faces.

“We believe all young people should have the chance to have a happy and healthy life regardless of their background and are delighted to play a small part in helping Action for Children achieve that.

“I hope that doing something really out there, like spending 12 hours on a cliff side, will encourage people to support us and give what they can for this great cause.”

MCS Group have been supporting Action for Children for the last 3 years through fundraising events and staff fundraising.  Barry is on the NI Board of businesses that usually supports the charities’ annual sleep out event, Byte Night, to raise funds for young people who face homelessness in NI.  Action for Children had to think outside the box when the pandemic stopped events from taking place and Boycott Your Bed was born.

Anyone wishing to support Barry can do so at his Just Giving page:

While those participating spend the night in the most unusual place they can think of, Action for Children will host a star-studded evening of virtual entertainment for them to enjoy. Magician Dynamo will be casting his spell live from the studio during a fun, family-friendly night of entertainment in aid of Action for Children’s ‘Boycott Your Bed’ fundraiser. He joins a host of famous faces including Jess Hynes, Lydia Bright, Jake Quickenden, Strictly’s Giovanni Pernice and Luba Mushtuk, TV presenter Laura Hamilton, and activities with Horrible Histories, Hungry Caterpillar, Trivia Games & DJ set to finish the night plus more to be announced.  Wherever you sleep, the money you raise can help make dreams of a safe and happy childhood come true.

Join Paul by signing up for Boycott your Bed and you’ll bring hope to vulnerable children across Northern Ireland hit hardest by the pandemic. Wherever you sleep the money you raise can make children’s dreams of a safe and happy childhood come true. Visit for more information about July’s virtual sleepout.