Missing People is the only charity in the UK which is dedicated to bringing missing children and adults back together with their families.
An estimated 250,000 people go missing each year in the UK. The families left behind often experience a rollercoaster of emotions. Grief and the uncertainty of feeling – like being in limbo – can be crushing, at least until they receive news of their loved one.
Players of People's Postcode Lottery have supported Missing People since 2008, helping sustain their free, confidential and 24-hour helpline, 116 000, which can be contacted by phone, text and email. The specially trained helpline staff and volunteers listen in confidence, supporting missing people and their families to explore their options and where possible, help them reconnect.
For those left behind, the charity provides specialised support to ease the heartache and confusion. Missing People helps in the search by publicising appeals for missing people both nationally and regionally. At the start of 2016, the helpline received its millionth contact since launching over 20 years ago. Players of People's Postcode Lottery's continued support means the charity can reach even more missing people and their families this year.
It's thanks to players that Missing People can help people like Lisa*. Lisa and her partner Conor had been living together for a year when Conor disappeared. Conor had told Lisa he was running errands, but when he didn't turn up to meet friends, Lisa was worried. His close friends and family said they had not heard from him, so Lisa reported Conor missing.
When Lisa called Missing People's helpline, in great distress, helpline staff supported her through those darkest times. It was this "compassion, patience and understanding, at whatever hour", that Lisa said was "incredible".
Fortunately, Conor contacted Lisa three days later. Still, for Lisa, those three days were "the longest of her life". Conor has since returned, but Lisa continues to express how lucky she feels to have had the reassurance of consistent support from a helpline adviser who understood what she was going through. Lisa emphasised she couldn't have got through it without this support. "Please keep doing what you're doing," she added. "Your work is invaluable."
Jo Youle, Chief Executive of Missing People said, "It's thanks to the sustained and incredibly generous support of players of People's Postcode Lottery that Missing People was able to reach this landmark millionth contact to our helpline at the start of this year. We can't thank players enough for the incredible amount they have raised for Missing People, which is currently over £3.4 Million and helps us support and safeguard vulnerable people around the clock."
As well as playing People’s Postcode Lottery, you can help Missing People be a lifeline by holding an Everything Stops for Tea party.
*Names have been changed to protect the individuals’ privacy