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A person is reported missing every 90 seconds in the UK. Missing People is the only charity in the UK which is dedicated to bringing the 176,000 children and adults that go missing every year back together with their families.

Thanks to the support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, Missing People has continued to be a lifeline to those in crisis throughout the pandemic.

The charity has seen the number of vulnerable adults contacting its Helpline rise by almost 20% in 2020, as the impacts of lockdown have sparked a rise in the number of people thinking about disappearing. A recent survey conducted found that two thirds of vulnerable people felt lockdown has had a negative impact on their mental health, while half said it had become harder to access support services.

The flexible backing from players of People’s Postcode Lottery allowed Missing People to quickly implement a new digital phone system to enable its teams to work safely from home and launch a virtual social support group for families. Missing People is incredibly proud of its frontline services team which continues to provide crisis support remotely to adults, children and families.

Remote volunteering has become an essential part of its volunteering programme during the pandemic. A large proportion of volunteers are based on its essential Helpline. To ensure they can continue being a lifeline to those affected by missing, volunteers have been trained to provide support by online chat, from home.

Funds awarded to Missing People in 2020 meant that:

  • 1,699 vulnerable missing children and adults who we searched for were found safe and well
  • 784 children and young people aged under 18 were supported over online chat in 2020, while a further 460 were supported by phone, and 1,108 by email or text
  • 1,862 missing children and young people responded to a TextSafe® message, and a further 39 received dedicated support via our SafeCall or return home interview services
  • Specialist support was provided for 2,047 families with a missing loved one, as well as dedicated support for 54 families worried about a young person affected by county lines.

With players’ support and backing, Missing People will continue the digital transformation of support services to enable those with lived experience to shape its work, and to move to models that can be scaled up sustainably, to help more people. Mental health and money problems are a key reason people go missing, and the financial and societal impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic are likely to lead to a significant increase in these issues, perhaps at a scale not seen before.

This is likely to be most acutely felt in disadvantaged communities and those who are already socially excluded. Missing People’s work has never been more important.

Because of players, Missing People can be there for them this year, and always.

Jo Youle chief executive of Missing People says a special thank you to players of People's Postcode Lottery. Player support has a huge impact on the charity and its work to support the missing and their families.

Over £7.8 million has been raised for Missing People thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

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