York’s confidential listening and information service, Nightline, has been named the project of the Class of 2016 appeal.
Nightline, which is open 8pm-8am every night, is run by anonymous student volunteers who provide a non-judgemental listening service to their peers.
Students from York or York St John can call, e-mail or visit the premises in person for confidential conversations, information and sexual health supplies.
Having aided students in distress for 40 years Nightline has now asked for help itself.
A page has been set up on the York-based crowd-funding website, YuStart, and has so far raised over £500.
York Vision interviewed Dom Smithies, YUSU Community and Well-being Officer, who was a volunteer for Nightline for a year until recently giving up listening and becoming a public face for the organisation.
Smithies passionately argued for why Nightline is important to students.
He said: “First and foremost, it’s a service that’s open when all of the student support services are closed; it operates at a time when its most needed.
“And no problem is too big or small to qualify a call to Nightline…
“Second, everyone – not just students – need a confidential ear from time to time.
“But students are facing increasing pressure in society on top of their assessments, relationships, housing, finances, homesickness and other potential difficulties.
“With all that exists it’s unsurprising that statistically 75% of students experience some degree of Psychological distress whilst at university and that’s exactly why supporting services like Nightline is so crucial.
“Third, it’s not even exclusively for those who have an issue.
“They offer sexual health supplies, have plenty of tea and biscuits if you need a break form a late night library session and are happy to be on the end of a line if you’re walking him alone late and night and just want someone there or someone to have a drunken natter to.”
Nightline, who moved off campus in 2014 after the building in which it was located got demolished, has found a drop in the number of visits to the flat since the move.
They want to invest in promotional material over the next academic year to raise awareness of the facility, as well as financing additions such as an extra phone to receive calls.
Smithies said: “From being able to finance more promotional material, to training up new volunteers, to being able to send people to the Nightline Association conference and learn best practice all the way to renovating the flat so its more purpose suited and comfortable for callers.
“In YUSU’s 2015/16 Volunteering Projects Impact Report it tracked the amount of hours the 16 projects that YUSU oversees and Nightline alone made up more than half of the total hours with its 12,560 hours of contribution.
“It’s a huge service that has a huge impact and any amount of donation would help to make an already great service excellent; students yet to come would really feel the benefit of that.”
All donations are being matched by YuFund, meaning that double the money goes straight to Nightline.
There is just 12 days left of the appeal so if you want to donate, you need to do so soon.
Nightline can be supported here: https://spsr.me/3Aon