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Students help combat loneliness in new city initiative

Posted on 26 March 2021

Students from the University of York have teamed up with the council to help tackle the problem of isolation in the city during the pandemic.

Nightsafe volunteers now working on the Door Natters project. Credit: YUSU NightSafe

The pioneering new project called Door Natters is being run by the University of York Students’ Union, (YUSU) Nightsafe team with the City of York Council.

The Nightsafe project normally sees volunteers help their fellow students during nights out. They patrol the streets, alleyways and riverbank to make 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.


But as the pandemic brought normal nightlife to a halt in the city, the Nightsafe team wanted to repurpose their services for a wider audience. They contacted the council to see where they could make a difference and the partnership began.

Nightsafe volunteer,  Chris Oldnall said: “The volunteers offer a friendly face to chat with. It’s a key way to ensure the lonely and vulnerable still have a connection with the outside world.”


Door Natters sees Nightsafe volunteers deliver postcards to houses across the city,  explaining how the scheme can support people.

 The volunteers then return to look out for postcards placed in  windows which then indicates if the person living there would like to talk to a volunteer.

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