NightSafe hosts an Open Mic Night fundraiser.


Nadia Sayed (she/her) reports on NightSafe's fundraiser, which was in partnership with Starbucks Coney Street.

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Image by Nadia Sayed

By Nadia Sayed

On Friday, 13 October, NightSafe partnered with Starbucks Coney Street to host an Open Mic Night fundraiser, with proceedings going towards the student volunteer-led organisation.

The evening saw NightSafe raise over £100 through cash and online donations, with £57 being raised by the JustGiving fundraiser. 

Nouse spoke with Fedor Topolev-Soldunov, NightSafe’s Project Coordinator, and their Social Media Manager, Maya McGregor, to find out more about the event.

Firstly, Nouse asked what the motivations behind NightSafe were. Maya responded: “NightSafe is a student-led volunteering service where we go out on all of the student nights and try to keep people safe so we carry water and a de-fib. We are all first aid trained, so if anyone needs help outside of the club, we can do that. The main aim is to keep people safe and get them home safe.”

When asked why NightSafe had decided to hold their fundraiser at Starbucks, Maya stated that Starbucks had first reached out to NightSafe in June. They had then offered the group the space to host an Open Mic Night in their store on Coney Street.

Attendees were invited to visit the store where they could create a design on the sleeve of a Starbucks cup to be entered into a competition. Entertainment was also provided by a number of live performances, including musical acts and spoken-word poetry.

When asked if NightSafe had done many previous fundraisers, Fedor replied that NightSafe doesn’t typically run fundraising events due to the heaviness of their expenses. “NightSafe is predominantly funded by YUSU grants and individual funding schemes.”

Regarding volunteering at NightSafe, they currently do not recruit people during Freshers week or throughout the academic year. Rather, NightSafe recruitment takes place during week zero of the autumn term (prior to the restructuring of the academic year through semesterisation). Fedor explained this was due to the extensive training necessary in order to volunteer on student nights.

“Training is an entire week,” Fedor stated. “It’s a three-day first aid course, a mental health course, a river safety course where you learn how to pull people out of the river.”

He continued to express that students are also required to complete police training, which is supported by a constable from North Yorkshire Police Station in Fulford. Thus, training occurs in the Autumn semester, prior to the first week of teaching at the University.

Nouse then asked how committed individuals were to the training process. Maya replied : “I think it depends on how you feel about donating that time. I would actually say it’s really not too much extra effort. Personally, I sacrifice a night out, and technically, I am still out; I’m just wearing hi-vis.”

NightSafe currently has 37 members, which Ferdor commented was “about as numerous as NightSafe gets.” He stated,  : “I don't really remember a time when we had as many members. We have a very serious issue now, which is a great issue to have, but we have so many people that some people don't get to do shifts because they [the club night shifts] are just too oversubscribed.”

When explaining how NighSafe attained its finances, Fedor remarked : “Aside from the general YUFund grants and the YUSU society grants, we have a scheme where the University funds us outside of those, and we get £4000 every year, thanks to the previous Activities Officer, Rohan Ashar. That was his wonderful parting gift where he arranged this sort of long-term NightSafe funding scheme where all the money goes into the training.”

Essie Clarke, a Supervisor at Coney Street Starbucks, told Nouse she really enjoyed seeing how many people had come together to understand and support the event.

“As a bigger company, we have the ability to do stuff like this all the time, and I think that it’s great that we are finally starting to make the most of that and make the most of the fact that we can support such incredible charities that do such incredible work.”

Essie further commented,  : “Most of our charity stuff in the past has been for NightSafe, but we’ve also done a few different charity things, [though] nothing on this scale before. This is the first thing we've done that was like a big event and supported in many different ways.”

Essie also commented that she hadn't expected many people to come but was impressed with the turnout of both performers and supporters.

When asked if she’d like to see more charity events like this, Essie responded,  : “Oh my gosh, yes, definitely! I feel like you can do so many things with the University, and to see that people would rather go out and do different things but have come to support these people is really sweet to see.”

Lastly, Nouse also spoke to Pippa Hurst, a University of York student and performer at the Open Mic Night, about what she thought of the fundraiser, to which she replied: “Even though York is a safe city, anything can happen at any time and being intoxicated is when you are at your most vulnerable. So this cause is great and I believe everyone should donate to it. It could save somebody's life at the end of the day.”

The NightSafe JustGiving fundraiser remained open until 15 October, with all profits going towards YUSU NightSafe.