Missing People is delighted to announce that we have been selected to receive a grant of £499,349 from the Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching Communities scheme. This generous sum will embed and develop our ground-breaking Family Support Programme, which was launched with the Big Lottery Fund’s support in 2011.
Missing People is the only charity in the UK providing bespoke support services for missing people and their families. It is only with the support of funders such as Big Lottery Fund that we are able to continue to be a lifeline when someone disappears.
Having reached 5,000 families in the last three years, our Family Support Programme will aim to assist 6,000 families over the next three years, thanks to this grant from the Big Lottery Fund. The services we provide to families affected by missing address the findings of our research (Living in Limbo, 2008 and Living in Limbo: Five Years On, 2013), which found that more than half of families with a missing loved one reported a deterioration in either their physical or mental health, with some reporting symptoms such as sleeplessness, anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts. Feelings of isolation are commonplace and many of the families we support struggle with the ambiguity of their loss, experiencing a rollercoaster of emotions.
Missing People CEO Jo Youle commented on the Big Lottery Fund’s vital support, saying,
"Families we support are living in limbo, unable to move on with life as they wait desperately for news of their missing loved one. Support from the Big Lottery Fund for Missing People means we have been able to pilot an expanded range of services for these families, in addition to our free 24-hour helpline. Now, with the Big Lottery Fund’s continuing support, we can continue to provide services such as counselling, online guidance, an online forum and a range of events designed around families’ needs. This is truly transformational, and we thank the Big Lottery Fund wholeheartedly for recognising the unique and devastating situation families of missing people find themselves in, and for enabling us to provide vital support services that can help people feel better able to cope.”
Missing People’s bespoke emotional and practical support is available to every family in the UK that is affected by a loved one going missing. Our free services, including specialist telephone counselling, a wealth of online guidance and the provision of named family support workers, have been well received by the families we support; 72% of respondents to our 2013 family feedback survey reported their expectations had been ‘completely met’ or ‘exceeded’. With our renewed Big Lottery funding, we can only hope to go from strength to strength and reach more families with a missing loved one.