The University of Aberdeen Development Trust receives tremendous support from our worldwide family of alumni, friends and benefactors throughout the year, including through our regular giving programme. With these donations, the Development Trust Student Fund is able to provide funding for projects which enhance the student experience for current and future generations of students at the University of Aberdeen.

This Fund aims to support initiatives that help students live student life to the full.  Extra-curricular activities and student support initiatives are an important part of the university experience and we help broaden horizons by supporting activities, trips and services both on and off campus, thanks to our supporters.  From Bookends to Nightline, and the Gaudie student newspaper to the Transition Programme for students with autism, the Development Trust Student Fund is here to help.

The Difference You Make

2020 has been a challenging year for everybody, including our students. Many projects have been postponed until 2021 but some were able to go ahead, including the Nightline support service which you enable. This will continue to provide a vital resource for students during this time of upheaval, anxiety and uncertainty.

“Nightline is a student-run listening and information service available to all students at the University between the hours of 8pm and 8am, 7 days a week during term-time. Nightline volunteers can receive calls and messages ranging from academic struggles, bullying, debt and loneliness. For the majority, university is a positive experience but most students experience periods of high stress, anxiety and low mood. Nightline’s purpose is to support those who would like to talk to somebody during these times. Some comments from students have included:

  • “It’s great having someone who is a student so understands the types of issues that students face.”
  • “Didn’t feel so alone by being able to talk to someone.”
  • “A friendly voice, a safe space, a support system.”
  • “I felt the Nightline cared about what I wanted to say.”
  • “Speaking to a person who I knew I would never see again made it easier to open up.”

Nightline went from strength to strength in the 2019-2020 academic year. Thanks to your support, the committee was able to really focus on spreading awareness of our service and creating a big presence around the campus, which included the purchase of vital branded merchandise and publicity materials, while also increasing our presence on social media with rebranded Facebook, Instagram and Twitter profiles. This has all enabled students to interact with our volunteers at events and gain a greater understanding of what the service offers and how it could maybe benefit them or their friends.

During Nightline Awareness Week in November, we had a number of events and campaigns such as an article in The Gaudie, two of our coordinators spoke on the student radio, a yoga event with Aberdeen Psychology Society, a bake sale, and interactive ‘Boards of Appreciation’ in both the student hub and the Suttie Centre. Furthermore, our committee gave out free hugs and sweets in the library during Christmas exam time.

A total of 48 volunteers were successfully trained helping to increase volunteer numbers to 87, with this semester’s training already having begun. We were able to take volunteers to Nightline Association Conferences which take part twice a year. Unfortunately, the spring conference had to be held virtually, but the winter conference was held in Edinburgh and was a huge opportunity for volunteers to go and learn more about how Nightline is run across the nation. It gave us the opportunity to network with other Nightlines and discuss how we all function.

The funding has made a massive difference to the society and we really would struggle without it. We are so incredibly grateful for the funding that we receive and personally wish to thank every single donor. There is absolutely no way we would be able to offer such an effective and high-quality service without your support. We really do believe that we provide a service that helps students during what can be extremely difficult years of their lives and try to contribute as much as we can to the University community. We thank you for your extreme generosity and hope that you feel your money has been put to good use to help better develop the University community."

Cara McCorquodale, Nightline Coordinator