The History of Nightline:
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. Click here to visit the Nightline Association's website.
Nottingham Nightline has been running for over 40 years. We were set up in January 1973, and have been providing essential emotional support to the students of Nottingham since then.
Nottingham Nightline won "Best New Initiative" at the National Nightline Awards in 2012. 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 has become a permanent fixture in the annual exam calendar.
In 2013 Nottingham Nightline won "Best Publicity Campaign" at the National Nightline Conference for the success of our PostSecret service.
In 2014, we again won "Best New Initiative" at the National Nightline Conference for introducing specific suicide and self-harm training to volunteers. These sessions provided a greater understanding of the issues faced by our callers, and resulted in a noticeable increase in volunteer confidence and awareness.
In 2015, we were awarded "Most Helpful Nightline" at the National Nightline Conference, for our assistance to new Nightlines during their set-up. One of our long-standing and most dedicated volunteers, Thomas Lines, was awarded "Volunteer of the Year" after completing over 1000 hours volunteering on our phone lines. Our fantastic Midlands Regional Coordinator and ex-Rota Officer, Caroline Poulter, won "Region of the Year" for her hard work with Nightlines in the Midlands. We were also nominated for "Best Publicity Campaign". Cecilia Bayliss-Conway, one of our Nottingham Trent Publicity Officers, was awarded the "Volunteering Outstanding Contribution Award" at the Nottingham Trent Students' Union Awards in May 2015.
In 2016, we were shortlisted at the National Nightline Conference for "Best Publicity Campaign" and the "Lifetime Achievement Award" for Lizzie Paddock.
At the University of Nottingham Students' Union annual Prizes and Awards ceremony in 2016, three of our Executive Committee volunteers - Maddy Ellis, Faith Mbewe and Laura Bealin-Kelly - were awarded Honorary Lifetime Memberships of the Students' Union, for their work with Nightline. Lizzie Paddock was awarded the highest honour from the Students' Union, the Ordo Caligue.
In 2016 we were also awarded "Organisation of the Year" at the Student Volunteer Centre Awards, UoNSU. Many of our listening and publicity volunteers were also recognised for their amazing contributions to the service, with Maddy Ellis, Jess Atkinson and Faith Mbewe all awarded "Outstanding Volunteer", and Sam Donnelly and Nathan Goodey both shortlisted for the same award for their commitment to publicity volunteering.