Manchester Nightline, the student-run listening service, announced its closure on Instagram on 20 September 2023.
The confidential service ran from 8pm to 8am, supporting students across Manchester by offering “non-judgemental” and “confidential” support.
The announcement stated that the closure was the “decision of the University of Manchester Students’ Union.”
A volunteer who worked at the service from November 2022 told The Mancunion that they were frustrated by the closure of the service.
Recalling the work, they mentioned that it was a “draining” but “rewarding” means of contributing to the student community, and feared that it would “leave some students without somewhere to turn.”
The volunteer continued, “I’ve used another university’s nightline before when I’ve otherwise felt I’ve had nowhere else to turn, and I’m grateful and appreciative for the listening support provided.”
When discussing the closure, the same volunteer mentioned that the Students’ Union cited the “high risk” nature of calls to volunteers and caller wellbeing as one of the reasons for its closure.
In a document sent to Manchester Nightline the Students’ Union stated that as a non-professional service, callers were being discouraged from seeking professional help.
The volunteer described some of the training involved prior to volunteering, including a framework provided for calls and messaging and how to remain non-directive and non-judgemental.
In August 2023, Sheffield Nightline announced their closure after 50 years of the service. York Nightline also closed this year after first being suspended, explained by concern for the practical and emotional impact on volunteers and users.
A Students’ Union spokesperson said:
After a long period of careful evaluation, we have come to the difficult but necessary conclusion to close Nightline. As we close, we recognise the dedication that volunteers past and present have contributed, something they should take great pride in, and have offered them support through UMSU’s Advice and UoM Counselling services as well as providing alternative volunteering opportunities so they can continue to channel their passions for helping students here in Manchester.
We understand the impact this decision may have on our wider student community and so would like to take this opportunity to highlight the range of support services available.
University of Manchester and Mental Health Service offers:
- Social prescribing service
- 1:1 appointments
- Peer-support groups
- 24/7 Mental Health helpline
Get in touch at counsellingservice.manchester.ac.uk
The Students’ Union offers:
- Advice Centre with 1:1 appointments & Self-help
- Speed-friending events during term-time
- Grants for hardship and access to recreation
Find out more at manchesterstudentsunion.com/advice
The University also offers:
- Advice & Response team
- School Support Office
- Multifaith Chaplaincy
- Peer Support programmes
Access support at studentsupport.manchester.ac.uk/advice-and-response