Society Spotlight: Leeds Nightline

Although the university experience can be fun, fulfilling and rewarding, sometimes it falls well short of expectations, and you may find yourself in need of guidance. Eleanor Smith investigates how the wise owls over at Nightline continue to provide help and support to struggling students.

With the halfway point of term now passed, winter settling in, and deadlines looming, Leeds Nightline are an important society to be aware of should you need any kind of support during your time as a Leeds student. They operate from 8pm to 8am every night in term time, offering a place to express any kind of worry or issue you may have.

The service is a volunteer organisation for students in Leeds, offering listening and information services through telephone, email and instant-messaging, no matter how big or small the concern. The service is similar to the charities Samaritans and Childline, offering a safe place to talk, exclusively for Leeds students. Their listening services provide an anonymous, confidential and impartial space for expressing any problem you may have. Their information services are invaluable for navigating the city of Leeds as a student, whether you need information on how to access your university’s counselling service or simply the number for a taxi.

Leeds Nightline is an incredibly important service and is an indispensable resource to be aware of during your time at Leeds. The listening services are particularly important as issues of mental health among students is on the rise. Students today are under an increasing amount of pressure, much more than previous generations due to the increasing cost of higher education. The Guardian Student Experience survey found that 87% of first year students experience some difficulty with aspects of university life. Incidences of students dropping out for mental health problems is also prevalent. 1,180 students left university early in 2014-15 for mental health problems, an increase of 210% from the 380 students in 2009-10, according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency. These figures show the great need for the services Nightline offer.

The organisation is a society based at Leeds University Union, however their affiliation with other Leeds higher education institutions, such as Leeds Trinity, Leeds Beckett, and Leeds College of Music, means the service is available to all Leeds students. The society is run by students, for students, with a committee comprised of twenty volunteers. The volunteers are extensively trained in communication skills so you know that whoever picks up the phone is trained to listen and respond to your call with the utmost respect and consideration. As it is a student run service, you can be sure the receiver of your call understands your situation.

“Students today are under an increasing amount of pressure, much more than previous generations due to the increasing cost of higher education”

The service was established in 1973, giving it decades of experience in providing confidential information, advice, or simply just an ear. Over the years, the society’s successes have been recognised by the Nightline Association, receiving recognition as Most Improved Nightline in 2012, Nightline of the Year in 2013, and a nomination for Best Volunteer Welfare in 2015, which Leeds Nightline credit as a ‘testament to the fantastic efforts of our Nightliners’.

What kind of student rings Nightline?

Nightline has ‘no typical caller’. Any student can access their services, whether you are

A fresher struggling to adjust to the jump between A Levels and university

A final year student feeling the pressure of job applications

A mature student feeling like they don’t fit in with their coursemates

A concerned housemate worried about a friend

Contacting Leeds Nightline is easy. Their phone numbers are 0113 380 1380 for their information service and 0113 380 1381 for their listening service. The phone numbers are also printed on your student card, so you can be sure that a friendly voice is never too far away.




Eleanor Smith