We interviewed Lancaster Nightline about the amazing work they do

‘We’re always here if you need support so please don’t be afraid to get in touch’


If there’s one thing that we can all agree on in these turbulent times, it’s that it’s been a long seven months! With Lancashire having just been bumped up to Tier Three, it can sometimes feel like we’ll never see an end to COVID-19’s disruption to our lives.

2020 has not been easy for anyone. For many young people, being prevented from fully enjoying what are supposed to be “the best years of our life” and cut off from friends and socialising, has meant mental health has become a serious issue through this pandemic.

Returning to Uni, while being a welcoming semi-return to normality, has produced a whole host of other concerns. Trying to adjust to online teaching and a vastly different social scene can be tough. Now more than ever, what’s going on in your mind matters and it’s important to look after your mental as well as physical health.

The Lancaster Tab spoke to the wonderful volunteers at Lancaster Nightline, a free support service operating a little like Childline, but specifically for students at Lancaster Uni, on the amazing work that they do. The Nightline team has been working tirelessly behind the scenes since the start of term to provide support, impartial advice and counselling services to fellow students here in Lancs.

We spoke to their head of publicity, Ewan, to get the inside scoop on what it’s like to be working on the front line of a valuable mental health service in these challenging times.

What is Nightline?

Ewan told us that Lancaster Nightline is “a confidential and anonymous student-run listening, advice and information service (similar to the Samaritans), open at night and run entirely by Lancaster students, for Lancaster students.”

What services does Nightline provide and how can students access these?

Ewan told us that Nightline’s services are “open every night during term time, and our trained student volunteers answer calls, emails and instant messages from fellow university students about anything that’s troubling them. Nightline volunteers being fellow students means they can directly empathise with users’ problems.”

He continued to state that if students need the information for a taxi or bus times then they can help you out, all you have to do is contact them. He wants to assure students that “there’s no such thing as a silly question!”

Due to Covid, Nightline has had to run things a little differently. Ewan said: “Usually, we run a call-taking service, but due to COVID-19, we’re unfortunately unable to provide this service currently. So, for first term at least, we’re operating entirely online. You can contact us every night of term via our IM Service from 10-1am or via email between 10-8am.”

What would you say is the best thing about working for Nightline?

Ewan said that the best thing about working for Lancaster Nightline is “volunteering alongside some of the most compassionate and amazing people you’ll find. I’ve had a fantastic time working for Nightline!

“Sometimes it’s a tough job, but we have a great support structure for our volunteers and their welfare is always paramount. Everyone who volunteers for us is friendly and supportive, so you’ll never find yourself out of your depth or without someone to talk to.”

How can students get involved with Nightline?

Ewan said: “We recruit new volunteers at the start of every term. Just like everything else, our recruitment and training process will be a little different this year due to Covid-19, but first you’ll need to fill out an application form.

“As a call-taker, you’d answer calls, instant messages and emails, anonymously and confidentially from other students and would first have to do some training to learn how to do this professionally. As a member of the Publicity Team, you’d help spread the word about Nightline around campus, designing posters and merchandise and helping out at events such as societies fairs.”

However, applications are currently closed as they have received so many. But Nightline said: “We will be holding recruitment again at the start of second and third term for anyone who still wants to get involved. To access the application form or find out more about our recruitment process, go to our website or email us. You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter.”

What do you guys do for fun?!

In regards to how the volunteers at Nightline relax and have fun, Ewan said: “It’s not all hard work! We also have socials, (although we’re unsure how exactly they’re going to run this term!) that include both the publicity and the call-taking teams and bring everyone from the two sides of the society together, which is always a lot of fun. It’s also Nightline’s 50th Birthday this year so we hope to do something special to celebrate!”

What would be your message for anyone struggling at the moment?

For any student reading this article who may be struggling, Nightline wants you to know: “We’re always here if you need support so please don’t be afraid to get in touch, there’s no problem too big or too small that you can talk to us about!”

Lancaster Nightline is here for you and will listen to your problems in order to give you the best advice. If you are struggling at the moment, please reach out to Lancaster Nightline as you are never alone.

Recommended articles by this writer:

How Lancs students are coping with the jump from A-level to degree

We asked Lancs students how they felt about online learning

Online seminars and grad schemes: What life is really like as a third year at Lancs uni