The twelve teenagers braved temperatures as low as minus four degrees during Framework's Big Snore sleep out, held in the grounds of West Nottinghamshire College in Mansfield.
The group had all previously completed leading youth programme National Citizen Service (NCS) and decided to support the sleep out as part of a national day of community volunteering organised by NCS. The teens, along with NCS support staff who also took part, raised almost £900 to help tackle homelessness in the region.
Annie Mae Wright and Sikander Khan, both 16 and studying A-levels at Southwell Minster School helped organise the NCS fundraising group, which also held a bake sale, sponsored car wash and sing-along to raise money for Framework.
"We took cardboard and plastic sheeting to build a shelter but with no indoor areas to sleep in, it was still absolutely freezing," said Annie Mae, who lives in Southwell. "We were lucky, we had sleeping bags, warm clothes, entertainment and a great atmosphere to keep us going but it really made us think about how tough it is for people rough sleeping every night."
Sikander, from Kirklington, adds: "Rough sleeping is a serious issue in Nottinghamshire and we wanted to do something that would have an impact locally.
"NCS has given me so much; the opportunity to try outward bound activities and learn new skills, plus the confidence and inspiration to get involved with lots of school and community groups. It's been a real turning point for me but of course not everyone is so fortunate.
I'm glad NCS Action Day gave us the opportunity to support such an important local charity, sleeping out so that others don't have to."
Framework is a charity and housing association dedicated to helping homeless people, preventing homelessness and promoting opportunities for vulnerable and excluded people.
Harry Theaker, Community Fundraising Officer at Framework said: "More people are now rough sleeping in Nottinghamshire than at any time since the late 1990s. While there is more to homelessness than rough sleeping, sleeping out for one night is a powerful way to experience a little of the harsh reality of homelessness. The NCS graduates and staff entered into the challenge with enthusiasm and raised a fantastic amount."
Both Annie Mae and Sikander have joined the regional youth board of NCS since completing their programme in the summer of 2016. NCS Action Day, supported by Santander, is a celebration of the huge difference young people can make to their local communities. Last year alone, NCS participants dedicated more than 2.3 million hours to social action projects.