Night club owner: NUCU provides invaluable service to students
Nottingham University Christian Union (NUCU) have received a boost to their student outreach programme – Club Outreach – by being described as an ‘invaluable service to the night club venue and the students of Nottingham University’ by night clubs and university authorities.
Club Outreach is where members of the CU hand out bottles of water, sweets and biscuits to clubbing students each week; often helping the students safely home and in many cases sharing what they believe about issues of faith.
Heidi Lawrence is a Club Outreach Leader for the CU and a third year student at Nottingham University. She explains how the Christian Union were invited to help alongside a Students’ Union (SU) ‘drink responsibly’ campaign, because of their good standing within the university: ‘NUCU were approached by the SU, who explained the positive reputation the CU had gained for the Club Outreach work at Ocean [a large city centre night club]. The SU rep went on to invite the CU to take over the running of this campaign, which involved promoting and ensuring safety, distributing refreshments, and assisting the university team where needed during the freshers’ week club nights.’ Heidi added, ‘After some discussion, we agreed that this would be an excellent opportunity to make the CU known to thousands of freshers during their first week of university. We took on the campaign with the agreement from the SU that they would fund our costs, allow us to share the gospel, and wear our CU t-shirts/hoodies.’
Heidi reports that over the course of the week, the CU went on to cover ten events and multiple venues, and met thousands of new students. ‘Many great conversations were had, and follow-up is continuing with students. It was an amazing opportunity to be able to proclaim the good news of Jesus, serving the students practically where they were at, and taking the gospel to them.’
Since freshers’ week, the owner of Ocean night club has provided the CU with a substantial donation, covering the costs of Club Outreach for the foreseeable future. Andy Hoe, the nightclub owner, said, ‘The NUCU and their Club Outreach program provide an invaluable service to both my venue and the students of Nottingham University. They are there week in, week out, rain or shine, with smiles on their faces, helping anyone who needs them. Even when faced with students that have overindulged and are not always as thankful for their help as they should be, or as polite as they should be, they keep smiling and enjoying giving their help.’ One student commented, ‘I’m an atheist, but the Christian Union is my favourite society. You’re just always there.’ Heidi talked about the impact Club Outreach has had, adding, ‘Many great relationships were developed with venue owners, Student Union Exec, SU Reps, university officials and venue staff. One guy we met in fresher's week has been attending church and has been meeting up with a member of the CU at least once a week to discuss Christianity.’
Nottingham CU Club Outreach stats
- 9,000 cups of water handed out
- 70kg of sweets distributed
- 400 packets of biscuits used
- Contact made with the majority of freshers in their first week of university
- 10 students agreed to a follow up meeting, some of whom have agreed to visit a local church with a CU member
- Unquantifiable number of discussions about Christianity
- Two awards won from a university hall of residence and from the university itself.[/BL]
Does Club Outreach work?
‘I met a student called Ben during freshers’ week and we had a chat about the usual topics: degree choice, home town, football, etc. Then he asked me what I did. I explained a bit about my role with UCCF and he asked if it was UCCF who made ‘those Uncover books’. He went to explain that last year at Nottingham uni, he had been on a night out clubbing with his sister. At the end of the night, the CU were handing out water, biscuits and Uncover Gospels. On the bus home, he started reading chapter one and couldn't put it down. He was convinced that it was true and that he needed to accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour. Since last year, his dad has also become a Christian as well. The Word is powerful! He's already got stuck in at London School of Economics Students’ Union CU and enjoying life in London.’
Nathan Richards, Christian Union Staff Worker, London