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NIGHTLIFE as a student can be daunting.
There’s the desire to fit in with new friends, an unfamiliar city to navigate and the panic of where to turn if you feel overwhelmed or lost. But a group of student volunteers in York are aiming to help anyone in difficulty while on a night out in the city with the NightSafe Project.

Smiley Team

1 week ago
The group was originally set up in 2014 after a number of young people lost their lives in York’s rivers after going out drinking and socialising in the evening.

NightSafe volunteers are based in the city between 11pm and 3am for four nights a week, and aim to provide support to vulnerable students and help keep them safe.

They provide physical and mental health first aid, ensure people get home safely and also support security staff at student venues to ensure the safety of those who have consumed excessive drugs or alcohol.

Project coordinator Libbie Bulmer said: “The people we support, whether that is by providing first aid, mental health support or simply having a chat are the most rewarding part of the job.”

And while the project is run by students and aimed mainly at students, they support anyone who needs their help.

Libbie explained: “We often find ourselves providing support to non-students, who for a variety of reasons may be vulnerable. Those we support are often referred to us by the door staff, but the very nature of NightSafe means that we may come across someone requiring our services as we patrol the streets.

“Through providing first aid and ensuring vulnerable people are able to get home safely, we also hope to support other services, like the police and paramedics. By easing the pressure on them they can work more effectively, so NightSafe definitely plays an important role in the wider local community.”

And the need to make sure people, particularly those on a night out, do not fall into the rivers which run through both the city centre and the university campus is still paramount.

In April 2019 five people died within three weeks of each other after falling into the River Foss or River Ouse in the city.

Libbie said: “River safety continues to play an important part in the work we do. NightSafe volunteers regularly patrol the river side, paying particularly close attention to areas where footpaths and steps make access to the river dangerously easy.”

In order to continue their work NightSafe are in need of funds to buy vital supplies, such as bottles of water to hand out, rucksacks, and notebooks where they can document each incident they come across.

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By Jenna Sloan

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