Missing People's 2023 Recap

30 Moments for 30 Years

As our 30th anniversary year comes to a close, we wanted to share 30 achievements from across the charity that we have accomplished in our 30th year.
  • Barnes Primary School Film

    Barnes Primary School made a fantasic promotional campaign film with Cine Schools for Missing People, highlighting the work of the charity and the issue of missing.

    This film later won the award for ‘Best Primary School Short Film’ at Kingston International Film Festival.

    Watch the film:

  • Big Give Campaign

    In December, we participated in this year’s Big Give and  were able to reach our target of £10,000, which has been doubled to £20,000 thanks to The Dulverton Trust!

    During this campaign, we shared a video in which Sir Trevor McDonald, Patron of Missing People, sat down with Caroline. Caroline’s son Izaak went missing in April 2022 and was sadly later found deceased. By sharing Izaak’s story, Caroline was able to speak about his personality, the search for him, and the support that Missing People were able to provide.

    Watch ‘Izaak’s Story’:

  • CIL Walk

    On Saturday 16th September, staff from both Missing People and our long-term partner CIL walked 30km to celebrate our 30th Anniversary and to raise funds in aid of the charity.

    In total, the walk raised £26,211 to help continue Missing People’s services. Thank you to all those who walked, and to those who donated to this fundraiser.

  • Crimecon

    In June, Missing People had both a stall and a panel ‘The Colour of Missing: A Conversation on Ethnicity and Community Response’ at CrimeCon.

    This panel involved Jane Hunter, Head of Research and Impact at Missing People, breaking down recent research and talking to Evidence Joel, mother of Richard Okorogheye who went missing in 2021 and was sadly found deceased, about change needed in police response to missing ethnic minorities.


  • Digital Search Heroes

    2023 sees us complete our first full calendar year of Digital Search Heroes. Each week, our incredible Digital Search Heroes have received updates on the latest appeals in their area, anniversary appeals from long term missing cases, and updates from the charity.

    150,000 emails later, our Digital Search Heroes are still sharing our appeals and keeping an eye out in their local area.

    Become a Digital Search Hero

  • Ethnicity Report

    In March, we published a report based on new research with Listen Up titled ‘The Ethnicity of Missing People’

    Based on data from police forces and local authorities, the research found that people from minority ethnic groups were missing for longer, less likely to be found by the police, and less likely to be recorded as being at risk, than white people.

    Read the report

  • Evening of Hope

    On Monday 11th December, we held our annual Evening of Hope at Christmas, a carol service for families, people who have been missing, supporters, staff, and volunteers.

    The evening involved performances by the Missing People Choir, readings written by our Creative Writing Group, and a poignant candle lighting ceremony, during which the names of missing loved ones were read out in an act of shared remembrance and hope.

    Watch the Evening of Hope 2023:

  • G4 Christmas Tour

    This year, we were delighted to be a part of G4’s Christmas tour once again. Across all 32 shows our wonderful team of volunteers were on hand to raise awareness of local missing appeals, share information on the issue of missing, and fundraise for people in crisis.

    If you are interested in volunteering with us, see our volunteering page for details on available roles/to register your interest:

    Learn more about volunteering

  • Gardeners' World Live

    From 10th-18th June, families affected by missing, as well as Missing People staff and volunteers, attended Gardeners’ World Live, and created a garden border ‘Missing You’ to commemorate missing loved ones.

    The garden attracted interest from the public and was also awarded a Silver Merit at the awards ceremony.

    View the gallery

  • Give Hope

    Earlier this year we launched Give Hope, our first campaign standing with families to demand urgent change.

    Some families with missing loved ones, especially families of colour, may not receive the right response during their missing investigation so we asked for your help to ensure they get the support they need.

    Find out more

  • Is This OK?

    Our anonymous chat service for young people, Is this Ok? has received exciting new funding to support young people at risk of exploitation in London and Sussex.

    This year, our chatbot, and dedicated team have supported young people anonymously at the point of crisis.

    Find out more 


  • Lived Experience Advisory Forum (LEAF)

    Missing People is working towards putting people with experience of missing at the heart of everything we do. We were delighted in 2023 to launch our Lived Experience Advisory Forum ‘LEAF’, a space for people who have experience of being missing to come together and advise on lots of things about the charity and our work. The group has had a couple of meetings this year, sharing their thoughts and feedback about:

    • The language of the text that we send people when they have been reported missing, resulting in us changing the message that is sent to both missing adults and children
    • Reviewing and feeding back about Missing People’s systems change work
    • Advising us on the guidance that is being developed for journalists who are reporting on missing
    • Experiences of being missing from work

    The experiences and feedback of the group has already had a big impact, and we look forward to working more with the group in 2024 and beyond.

  • Missing in the Media

    This year the charity have taken part in hundreds of media appearances including broadcast, radio, and print. Our dedicated spokespeople have been on hand to highlight individual missing appeals and systemic issues surrounding the issue of missing.

    Regional media presents a fantastic opportunity for us to communicate to those in an area where someone has disappeared. We are grateful to families that allow us to publicise on behalf of their missing loved one.

  • National Lottery Funding

    We’re thrilled to share that we’ve received National Lottery funding from The National Lottery Community Fund for our project: Helping Communities Survive When Someone Disappears.

    More details on this project to come in January 2024.

  • New Strategy

    This year, we launched our new strategy ‘From Crisis to Hope’. This strategy highlights that people who go missing are often in a crisis and are at risk of coming to harm.

    Our goals are:

    • Going missing is understood as a crisis that can be a matter of life or death
    • All missing people and their loved ones get the right help at the right time
    • Fewer missing people come to harm
    Read the strategy

  • Night of Light Gala

    On 9th March, we hosted our annual Night of Light Gala to raise vital funds for the charity.

    The Gala was held at the prestigious 5* Pan Pacific London, and was attended by 260 guests, including our Royal Patron, The Duchess of Gloucester, our longest-serving Patron, Sir Trevor McDonald OBE, key donors and corporate supporters, and families affected by missing.

    Thanks to all those who attended and supported the event, it was our most successful gala ever, surpassing our ambitious fundraising goal of £300,000!

  • Our work in Scotland

    Missing People is delivering Year 5 of our project in partnership with Scottish Government, to support the implementation of The National Missing Persons Framework across Scotland.

    The project sees Missing People working with strategic leads and front-line professionals from Police Scotland, local authorities, education, and third sector partners to improve practice around missing for children and adults.

    This year the project will be working in seven local areas; East Ayrshire; Highlands; The Shetland Islands; South Lanarkshire; Renfrewshire; Inverclyde; West Dunbartonshire; and Argyll and Bute, taking our total number of local areas we have worked in to 26.

    The project will also deliver a Good Practice Conference in February 2024, update the free to access professional’s forum, and the free online toolkit for professionals with good practice from across Scotland.

  • People's Postcode Lottery

    This year, we celebrated over 10 years of support from Players of People’s Postcode Lottery, who have now raised a total of over £10 million pounds for the cause.

    We were thrilled to recognise this incredible support during our 30th Anniversary. David Pullan, a Managing Director at People’s Postcode Lottery, accepted the Lifeline Award on behalf of players.

  • Prevention Campaign

    This year, we have continued to share our prevention campaign thanks to JCDecaux allowing us to spread our message across the UK.

    Since the beginning of this campaign we have received calls from many who have been at the point of crisis, and potentially reduced the risk of them coming to harm.

  • Royal Mail Partnership

    As part of our ongoing partnership with Royal Mail, we continued our ‘Messages of Hope’ campaign at Christmas, where Royal Mail employees, as well as the general public, were encouraged to send an anonymous message of hope to families with missing loved ones.

  • Safe Way Home Campaign

    We partnered with South Western Railway (SWR) and Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) to deliver our ‘Safe Way Home’ campaign.

    This campaign uses billboards, digital boards, and audio announcements at stations to encourage anyone thinking of going missing to find us first and to contact our Helpline on 116 000.

    We are currently have been displaying 12 long-term missing appeals on GTR’s WIFI landing page that will end in January. This ensures that Missing People can work towards our goal that every missing person is found safe and well.

    Learn more about our Safe Way Home campaign

    GTR x Missing People SWR x Missing People


  • SafeCall

    We worked alongside The South London Film Festival to produce a new campaign video for our SafeCall service, offering free, anonymous, and confidential advice to young people and their families affected by county lines and criminal exploitation.

    Watch the video:

  • Safeguarding Briefing Network

    Our two SBN volunteers Lucy and Rachel have been working tirelessly on our Safeguarding Briefing Network.

    An enormous amount of work goes into obtaining a new partner, researching, sourcing a potential partner, making contact, emailing/calling, arranging a meeting and completion of paperwork. This can take weeks of work.  It’s a real success when we gain a new SBN partner. All the while, the important maintenance of our system continues, chasing ‘undeliverables’ and general updates.

    Rachel and Lucy have refreshed over 14000 partners, (including over 200 transport partners) refreshing the contact details, removing those organisations and services that no longer exist, and updating new contacts which have changes post-Covid. On average, each missing case can involve 30-50 SBN partners. They have also converted over 100 partners from poster to SBN status.

    They have been concentrating on developing areas where we have a dearth of SBN partners, namely Scotland, Wales and North Yorkshire. In each of these areas, we have increased our partners by 10%.

    One example of the success of our SBN this year is Sussex Police reporting that a vulnerable woman was found safe and well due to our SBN.

  • Stagecoach Partnership

    Since our bus ticket campaign with Stagecoach launched last December, over 90 million tickets showcasing our preventative campaign messaging and Helpline number have been purchased!

    This has allowed us to reach more people who may not have otherwise known about the charity or the support our Helpline can offer.

    Learn more about the partnership 


  • TextSafe®

    This calendar year, police services used our TextSafe® initiative to send over 52,000 messages to a missing child or adult, the equivalent of over a thousand messages every week.

    When activated, a TextSafe® message will go to a missing person letting them know that our Helpline services are available to them for free and in confidence. The text is sent from us at Missing People rather than from the police. Therefore, those who might be hesitant to have contact with the police still have access to anonymous support.

  • Together to Remember

    On Saturday the 14th of October we held our annual ‘Together to Remember’ event. This year’s event was especially poignant, as it marked 10 years since the tree was planted.

    We gathered around our Missing People Memory Tree in Palewall Park to read out messages from families with a missing loved one which were printed onto leaves, then tied to the tree during the event.

    Watch a recording of the event

  • Training and Consultancy Work

    In this calendar year (2023) our Business Development Team have:

    • Responded to 69 enquiries about training and consultancy
    • Upskilled over 1,000 multi-agency professionals across the UK by delivering 20 events (training, conferences, workshops or consultancy projects)
    • Collaborated with 17 people who have been affected by missing to ensure our approach is grounded in lived experience of missing.

    “The training on the Criminalisation of Care Experience Young People I attended was certainly impactful. I had never considered how significant it can be to call the police when a young people is late, or when they are trying to visit their family. It made me really think about how differently, once again, care experienced children and young people are treated. I think the toolkit is innovative and certainly involves people with lived experience to shape how teams and organisations could do things differently”.

    Feedback from a professional based in Wales

  • Trainline Partnership

    We partnered with Trainline to create an innovative missing person appeal alert system, using geo-targeted urgent and current missing person appeals landing directly on users’ phones.

    The appeals are shown to users of the Trainline app and works by displaying images of people who have gone missing in the vicinity, as well as information on the steps to take if you suspect you have seen a missing person or have information on their whereabouts.

  • Vanished

    Over the course of this year, we worked alongside Channel 5 to produce eight episodes over two series of ‘Vanished’, a one-of-a-kind show to highlight the crisis of missing.

    The show was presented by Dan Walker, and each episode featured long-term missing cases, urgent missing appeals, and information on the essential services that Missing People are able to provide.

    During the run of the programme, we received a record number of calls to our Helpline- from people who had been thinking of going missing, from those who were already missing, and from people calling to report sightings and information on the missing people featured on the programme.

    Season 2 of Vanished proved to be the most rewarding and successful with 8 missing people being found and retuning home safe and well. We can’t thank the public enough for their support in helping us find the missing loved ones of families who yearn for their return.

    Watch ‘Vanished’

  • Walking in Hope

    As part of our 30th anniversary celebrations, we asked families and others affected by missing to do a sponsored walk for us to raise awareness of their missing loved one.

    We then shared the stories of those affected by missing and updates on the walks that they undertook.

    Read the stories

Sign up to be a Digital Search Hero

We have launched a regular email so that you can be aware of new missing person appeals and share them far and wide! We are also calling on all Heroes to be the eyes and ears for Missing People on the ground. Your sighting of a missing person could make a difference in a crucial time.