About Us

Nightline is a support service run by students, for students at the University of Essex. We work to improve student wellbeing and are open at night when no other university welfare services are available.


In 1970, Prof. Geoffrey Hosking, former director of the local Samaritans branch, and University chaplain Rev. Malcolm France created the UK’s very first Nightline on our Colchester campus along with a couple of student volunteers, in order to deal with the stresses and issues that university life can sometimes bring.

The first ever Nightline duty on May 7th 1970 took place in a disused hut on the edge of the University grounds, with two offices to sleep in as well as a central office to take calls in (but no toilets!). Nowadays, our flat in Keynes tower is manned every night in term time with over 100 student volunteers giving their time and devotion to our service. Since we started all those years ago, more than 35 Nightline services have been established in universities across the country.

The founding concept behind Nightline is a simple one: students find it easier to talk to other students. University is a time of many changes and challenges and being able to talk to a peer – someone who understands what you’re going through at your university and can empathise – can and does make a difference.

Students at Essex University can talk to us about anything they like. We won’t judge and we won’t tell you what to do, but no matter what it’s about, we’ll listen. Nightline is confidential and anonymous; students don’t have to tell us anything about themselves, not even their name.

Nightline is open from 10pm to 8am, every night of term.