Succeeding the establishment of the Nightline association in 1970, Durham Nightline soon saw its own inception in 1973; pioneered by three eager Durham University students following on from their work as Durham Samaritans. Celebrating their 50th anniversary this year, Durham Nightline is All Night. All Term. All Ears
Publicity officer, Gillian, explains that after signing up in June 2020 as part of post-lockdown training, she was looking for something new and a means of gaining experience. It soon became clear that she was passionate about volunteering. Likewise, training officer Dom joined via his college requiring them to do welfare training. After they realised how important the cause was, there was no going back! James told me that he joined Durham Nightline in the first term of his first year. “Once you get involved in it, it’s very easy to become sucked into things… a lot of the more experienced volunteers were incredibly encouraging for you to do more within the organisation.”
What is it like being a public face of Nightline?
Throughout our discussion it became abundantly clear that our Nightline is an all inclusive organisation made up of Durham’s finest individuals. James, Gillian and Dom are part of just a few ‘public faces’ which Gillian explains has the benefits of getting to “interact with a lot of different people both inside and outside of Nightline”. James notes that “it is kind of weird when you first start out as a public face” given that many of them were anonymous volunteers to begin with. Nonetheless, despite Nightline probably being “one of the most secretive groups of people in Durham…it’s one of the best.”
What services does Nightline offer?
James explains that “We are open from 9PM to 7AM, Tuesday to Saturday, during term time. We can be contacted via the instant messaging system which is on our website, or via the number on the back of your campus card.” When asked if there is anything in particular that Nightline wishes to be contacted about, Dom assured us that “you can basically contact Nightline for any reason. For talking when you’re walking home on a night out, or if you’re particularly stressed about anything – any topic really. It’s kind of like we’re there to just talk to you and kind of have an open conversation about things that maybe you couldn’t discuss with anyone else.” Gillian adds that “ I guess like academic stress, being students, is quite common…Some people think that their problems are too small for Nightline, but there’s nothing too small for us because if someone wants to talk we’re there to listen.”
How can people get involved with Nightline as volunteers?
Training officer Dom explained that the training weekends are the best way to get involved with Nightline. By now we should have seen that an upcoming training weekend is taking place post-exam season on the 4th June, with follow up days on the 10th and 11th June. “It will be incredible!” Dom explains.The first day goes through what Dom describes as the “active listening principles”. Where these apply generally to social and welfare contexts. They add that this will “show you how you can use certain skills to improve the openness of the conversation, and make it more tailored to the person in an emotional sense.” Dom clarified that if you would like more training in a specific area or would like to get more involved with specific Nightline welfare, then the following weekend of training is for you. Furthermore, Gillian explains that “we do lots of roleplay practice as that’s what the interviews are based on.” The training weekend provides a helpful avenue to be interviewed for becoming a Nightline volunteer.
How should we remember Durham Nightline?
The three Nightline representatives emphasised that, from an internal perspective, becoming a volunteer immerses you in an inclusive and encouraging community. James explained that “It attracts the type of people who are probably going to be quite naturally supportive, so it ends up being this incredibly supportive community where people are actively encouraged to take part, and actively supported through it.” Dom added that it is simply “A family of like-minded people that want to give up their time.” Gillian reassured us that “I have never met a Nightliner that I have not liked.” Yet, from an external perspective, and for all of the callers out there, Dom was keen to add that “there is no topic too small, and we’re there all night to listen…You don’t need to feel in any way that you re burdening us as its our choice to be there, and we want to help…that’s why we duty every night!”
Durham Nightline are available when you need them, and can be found on both Instagram and Facebook, as well as on their website. We thank them for their hard work and dedication to Durham University welfare.
Follow the link if you would like to sign up to the upcoming training weekend!
Image credits: Durham Nightline