The first ever Nightline began in May 1970 at Essex University. An ex-director of the Colchester Samaritans and a Chaplain noticed the high suicide rate among local students.
They decided to train a group of fellow students to give their peers someone to talk to. A telephone was installed in an empty campus bedroom and the students ran a helpline, during the night. Thus, the first ever Nightline began.
The idea spread quickly and many more nightlines were set up all over the country. In every case the core principles of the organisations stayed the same: confidential, anonymous, non-judgemental, non-directive and run by students for students.
Every Nightline remains fully committed to these principles nearly forty years on. There are now over 40 UK Nightlines in universities and there are even Nightlines in America, Canada and Germany.
Eventually Nightlines banded together to form National Nightline, this became a charity in 2006. There are estimated to be around 1500 Nightline volunteers in Britain.
Nottingham Nightline has been running for over 30 years.
Nottingham Nightline recently won 'Best New Initiative' at the National Nightline Awards. The award was won for Nightline’s provision of a 24/7 Nightline service through the January 2012 exam period. Call volumes more than doubled this year as a result and was so valued by students at what can be an incredibly stressful time, that it will become a permanent fixture in the annual exam calendar. Read the Student Union's article here.