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Missing People

Charity Overview

A donation from ICAP London Charity Day 2010 has enabled the transformation of Missing People with the launch of 116 000, the new EU Helpline for missing children.

Project Summary

Missing People provides free 24 hour confidential support, help and advice by phone, email, text and online, including the opportunity to reconnect missing people with their families. The charity also co-ordinates a UK wide network of people, businesses and media to join the search for people across the country. 

250,000 people go missing every year in the UK, 140,000 of those are children.

ICAP London funded the UK launch of Missing People’s 116 000 lifeline, which is the number for advice, support and information for missing people and their loved ones.  116 000 is a pan-European ‘hotline’ – the first number dedicated to missing people in the UK and across the EU – and has been deemed a “telephone number of extreme social value” by Ofcom.   

Since launching 116 000, Missing People have been contacted on average 155 times every day by phone, email and text.

The charity’s services are driven by a highly skilled, non-judgemental team which works around the clock 365 days a year to meet the needs of anyone affected by the ‘missing’ issue.  This varies from safeguarding and supporting missing children and adults to providing on-going support to the families who are left behind.

In 2014 Missing People received almost ten times as many emails and nearly three and a half times as many SMS messages, compared to before 116 000 existed.

Thanks to ICAP’s support, the high-profile launch of this new helpline number has transformed Missing People. 

The charity has reached new vulnerable service users who may not otherwise have heard about Missing People through increased awareness including a national advertising campaign and publicity in telephone boxes. These new users show a preference for email, web and text contact, all of which now utilise the number 116 000.  In the six months following the launch, the charity responded to nearly three times the number of email and text messages. 41% of the people Missing People have safeguarded have been children and young people – that’s over 6,600 individuals. In the last three years, four out of every ten people who were reconnected or supported with a reconnection through the helpline were under 18 years of age.

 “We are immensely grateful to ICAP for funding the launch of      116 000. ICAP’s transformational donation has changed Missing People forever.  Both in terms of reaching a wider audience of vulnerable people and also in enabling the charity to have new ground breaking partnerships with Bartle, Bogle and Hegarty, The Outdoor media Centre and the EU.  We could not have hoped for better outcomes.”   Jo Youle, Chief Executive, Missing People

116 000 also created the platform to reconnect more vulnerable missing children and adults by simplifying the charity’s message and enabling Missing People to partner with advertising agency Bartle Bogle and Hegarty (BBH) and the Outdoor Media Centre in launching the largest digital billboard campaign of its kind in British history.  All across the country, digital billboards screened different appeals for missing people each week and highlighted the number to call with sightings: 116 000.  The partnership with BBH extended to a cinema advert campaign which is still showing nationwide.  This pro bono campaign is estimated to have reached 25 million people during the Olympics and beyond.  

Thanks to ICAPs funding, the charity has been able to leverage support from the EU and a grant from Comic Relief to safeguard missing and exploited children.