Hundreds brave the cold in charity sleep out to help the homeless in Nottingham
A RECORD number of people slept rough last night to raise £30,000 to help prevent homelessness in Notts.
Making shelter out of cardboard boxes, and wearing as many layers as possible, more than 370 people huddled together outside the Capital FM Arena.
Last night marked a milestone for Notts homelessness charity Framework as it was the 20th anniversary of the annual Big Sleep Out event.
A group of youngsters from the Keyworth Explorers, a section of the Scouts, were among the first to set up their cardboard boxes and were all wearing brightly-coloured "onesie" sleep suits.
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Speaking to the Post last night as she was getting ready, 15-year-old Louise Cox, of Dale Road, Keyworth, said: "I've got school tomorrow and I've got GCSE English and history assessments and I'm sure I will feel exhausted but it will be worth it.
"It's a really good cause."
Megan Phoenix, 15, of Highbury Road, Keyworth, said: "I really wanted the experience. We've never done anything like this before. It will make us think more about why people are homeless and what it feels like."
Brother and sister Sampanah Dyer, 12, and Rhamahn Dyer, 15, of Simkin Avenue, Carlton, were camping out last night with their mother and a friend.
Sampanah said: "I'm excited and quite scared. It's the cold that scares me but I wanted to do it for charity. It's been fun putting the box together."
Her brother added: "It's really exciting but it's going to be a long night. It makes you think about the homeless. We take life for granted.
"It's unimaginable to do this every night throughout the winter."
The Lord Mayor of Nottingham, Councillor Leon Unczur, was also among the crowd last night as Framework is one of his two charities for the year.
The charity said it was overwhelmed by the level of public support for the event. It was the first year they had to close the registration because they were over-subscribed.
The charity's chief executive Andrew Redfern said: "This event has been going in one form or another for the last 20 years – but we have never had a response quite like this.
"It is overwhelming to see so many people of all different ages and backgrounds here tonight. Sleeping in the open for a whole night takes a great deal of determination and everyone here tonight can be rightly proud of their efforts."
All money raised from the event will go towards preventing homelessness and stopping people from sleeping rough.
This includes legal work to stop repossessions and evictions and support for people with debt, mental health, drug and alcohol problems.