To mark International Missing Children’s Day (25th May) the charity Missing People is joining forces with Louise Redknapp, football clubs, influencers and musicians including Royal Blood, The Wombats and grime artist Big Zuu, to help reunite families and raise awareness of the issue.
The charity hopes the campaign efforts will bring new clues about some of the UK’s 86,000 children reported missing each year, and raise awareness of the issues families with a missing child face during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Sunday 24 May, celebrities Louise Redknapp and Martine McCutcheon will be backing the charity ahead of International Missing Children’s Day by sharing the #Every2Minutes hashtag and deactivating their social media accounts in solidarity – with a child being reported missing every two minutes in the UK. Other familiar faces from music and TV such as grime artist Big Zuu, and star of Channel 4’s ‘End of the F**king World’ and Netflix’s ‘Black Mirror’ Alex Lawther, will show their support via their social media channels the following day.
‘Football Cares’ expands an initiative started by AS Roma last year, to share appeals for missing children via social media and reach millions of football fans. A video featuring missing children will be posted to the Missing People Twitter feed, and shared by clubs across the UK, including Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool FC and Celtic and Rangers in Scotland. The campaign will be echoed across the globe, with more than 170 clubs taking part to raise awareness of missing children appeals across six continents.
Chief Executive of Missing People, Jo Youle says: “A child is reported missing every two minutes in the UK. Children and young people are telling us that the impact of the pandemic and lockdown is having a detrimental impact on their mental health and making them think about going missing. Families with a missing child have been impacted too and we hope the day will help to reunite some of those missing.”
Last month 54% more children and young people sought support via the charity’s 121 chat service than the monthly average in 2019/20 (137 up from an average of 89). A third of these children and young people presented a mental health issue, many times linked with COVID and the lockdown.
In the weeks and months ahead, the charity expects the issues around covid-19 to continue to result in young people thinking about leaving or going missing, and to exacerbate existing worries and problems they may have.