STUDENTS say they are worried about their safety, with knife crime and drugs a particularly concern.

In the wake of the Cube tower block fire last month, authorities have been consulting with university pupils on their biggest worries.

At an event held last week, Greater Manchester’s nightlife tsar, Sacha Lord, spoke to more than 150 students and uncovered a raft of concerned.

Attendees voiced worries about the growing threat of knife crime, sexual harassment, drug culture, the behaviour of bouncers and safety in LGBT+ communities.

The even followed a huge blaze which ripped through the upper floors of the Cube student block in Bolton town centre, putting hundreds of lives in danger and living people with nowhere to stay.

Reviewing the event, Mr Lord said, “For the first time, all universities across Greater Manchester came together to talk about how we can improve student safety, and we’ve learnt a lot. From drug concerns, to transport needs and the behaviour of security staff, all the issues raised will be taken away and discussed at length with the team to see where we can improve.

To hear from the young people themselves about what they want is vital to ensuring that everyone - young, old, male female, LGBT or minority groups - feel safe, whether they’re on a night out, shopping, or getting a bus home.”

The Bolton News:

Mr Lord, founder of popular festival Parklife and the Manchester event Warehouse Project, said the biggest concern raised was over drugs.

Students expressed worry about telling security, police or paramedics for fear of negative repercussions, and Lord committing to continuing his partnership with Manchester Drug Analysis and Knowledge Exchange (MANDRAKE) to test drugs confiscated at his events and check for dangerous or super-strength strains.

Mr Lord was joined at the event by Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham and BBC Radio 1 DJ Annie Mac, who aims to create safer nights out for students.

“Safety on a night out is so important; whether we’re clubbing or just going out with friends,” she said.

“We have to look out for each other. I’m delighted that for the first time, all the universities across Greater Manchester came together, along with the Mayor, Andy Burnham, to start openly talking about safety issues on a night out and creating something that can be spread around the whole city region.”

The Bolton News:

Also in attendance was Nick Pope, father of 19-year-old Charlie Pope who died after falling into a canal in Manchester following a night out in March 2018.

Mr Pope has been working closely with the authorities to try and improve safety for clubbers. Earlier this year barriers were installed along the stretch of canal where his son drowned, with the fencing now directing people to cross the canal using an existing footbridge.

The 19-year-old’s death was followed by another tragedy, when Bolton-born student Orlando Nyero, also 19, was also found dead in the canal just three months later.

Following the student consultation, Mr Pope said: “It was a really worthwhile event, which was such a success due to the large attendance, great engagement and searching questions.

“This can only result in better safety for the students and citizens of Manchester.”

The event comes in the wake of efforts by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) to implement vast changes for clubbers around the region, including the introduction of late-running Christmas trams.