York students are helping to combat loneliness in the city in a pioneering new initiative.
YUSU Nightsafe has teamed up with City of York Council for a project called Door Natters, to help combat isolation during the Covid-19 Pandemic.
From the University of York Students’ Union, Nightsafe normally sees volunteers help their fellow students during on nights out.
They patrol the streets, alleyways and by the river, making sure that students aren’t alone or in danger. If the need arises, they are on hand to provide first aid, mental health support, or even a simple chat, making sure that people feel safe.
When nightlife quietened down due to the pandemic, Nightsafe wanted to repurpose their services for a wider audience.
So they contacted the council to see where they could make a difference – and so the partnership began.
A friendly face
Door Natters sees Nightsafe volunteers pop postcards through people’s doors across York, explaining the scheme.
The volunteers then return to look out for postcards placed in windows, telling them if the person living there is vulnerable or lonely and would like a casual chat with a volunteer.
Nightsafe volunteer Chris Oldnall said: “It’s a key way to ensure the lonely and vulnerable still have a connection with the outside world.”
He said the volunteers offer “a friendly face to chat with. Perhaps more simply: a reminder that in the convoluted world we live in, a kind individual is out there.”
The Nightsafe team hopes that this partnership shows the wider city that students care about the community they live in and want to make a difference, but also that the relationships established for this project can continue for bigger and better things in the future.