Some of the brave 'rough' sleepers raising money for Framework Nottingham at Forest Fields Sports Zone.

Over 200 people slept rough on Saturday night as they looked to close the door on the rising homelessness crisis around the East Midlands.

The Big SleepOut, previously held at Sneinton Market, moved to Forest Fields Sports Zone on Gregory Boulevard, receiving its biggest turnout in its history.

Many brave fundraisers donned their thickest layers to survive the wintery conditions after it emerged that homelessness in the East Midlands has risen by one fifth in the past year.

Among them was three time participant Theresa Allen, 60, of Woodthorpe, she said: “While I can go back to my nice warm bed tomorrow night, not everybody can so it’s important to support the local community.”

“Anybody could end up on the streets so for those of us that have a roof over our heads, we need to appreciate how lucky we are.”

Joining forces with Nottingham Forest Community Trust, the annual event was organised by Framework, a charity that deals with homeless people and those on the brink on a daily basis.

Abi Mayfield, Framework’s Event Organiser, said: “This is the biggest event in our yearly calendar and every year it just keeps on growing and growing.”

“We’ve been getting more and more people contacting us for help lately and the money raised will go towards helping everyone we possibly can.”

Chairman of Framework, Dr. Peter Barrett CBE, said: “It’s wonderful to gather the enthusiasm of youngsters and grown-ups alike for this event.”

“Being on the streets is tough, even more so as the temperature begins to drop… the money raised here tonight is important in driving us forward.”

Entertainment included bands and local artists performing all night, a ‘box-factor’ competition in which sleepers compete to produce their grandest cardboard designs, and hot refreshments being served throughout the event.

For more information about Framework, visit http://www.frameworkha.org/