Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Missing People rebranded

May 18 2009
The UK‘s only charity dedicated to missing people is focusing on supporting young runaways The National Missing People's Helpline faced closure in 2005, but has undergone a re-branding exercise that the organisation claims will enable it to continue tracing 10 missing people and supporting 80 young runaways every single week. The NMPH will now become Missing People (0500 700 700); it will house the first comprehensive database of missing people in the UK and provide data to inform government policy. A spokesperson said the name had been changed to clarify the role of the charity. "A common misconception was that the charity was a statutory body or part of the police service, as our previous name implied that our service was limited to a single helpline," the spokesperson said. "Many people were unaware of our others services, including those for missing people and the unidentified." The re-launch took place on National Missing Persons Day, and the family of Madeleine McCann, the young girl who vanished in Portugal, is to visit staff and volunteers at the charity's head office in London on International Missing Children's Day to show their support. The new yellow ribbon, which has become synonymous with the disappearance of Madeline, is, in fact, in support of the charity as a whole. The charity hopes that greater clarity about its work will help it to bring more people together as users of its services increase. "Obviously a lot of runaways and people who choose to leave their current situation will end up on the streets," the spokesperson said, adding that their helpline and service centres aim to provide 24/7 cover for runaways, as well as offering links into local areas where people may be missing and in need. The charity estimates that more than 210,000 reports of missing are made to the UK police every year, and two-thirds of them concern youths under the age of 18. However, Missing People said that it does respect any adult decision to go missing and stay missing. "We know that people go missing for many different reasons and that returning home or getting in touch with family is not always an option," the spokesperson said. "For some people, picking up the phone and making contact with family can be the hardest thing to do, especially after weeks, months or even years of being missing." But the group still urges anyone who has run away to contact it in complete confidence. "While a missing person may not want to be in direct contact with their family or for them to know where they are, we under- stand this," the spokesperson said. "We may be able to pass a 'safe and well' message to family on a missing person's behalf and we are also able to talk through someone's situation with them."