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A lifeline when someone disappears

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Missing People’s partnership with Outsmart, the marketing body for the Out of Home (OOH) industry in the UK, has been awarded ‘Corporate National Partnership Champion’ at the Charity Times Awards, in recognition of the impact achieved by both organisations working strategically together.  

By encouraging members to donate digital billboard space to Missing People, Outsmart has leveraged more than £10 million of free advertising for the charity. This is used to display regionally targeted appeals for missing children and adults in public spaces with high footfall, such as transport hubs and shopping centres.

Since Outsmart partnered with Missing People in 2012, 664 appeals for different missing people have been shared on digital billboards across the UK. An incredible 34% (229) of the vulnerable people featured in these appeals have been found safe.

As well as traditional posters and print media, Missing People now uses digital media, which allows staff to remove and update appeals in real time. In addition, the charity has control of when and where appeals appear, using OpenLoop. This enables the team to focus the search geographically, and on locations where members of the public and missing people themselves, are most likely to see an appeal, such as roadsides, bus shelters and train stations.

Public awareness of the charity has increased significantly since the partnership began too, so more people who are thinking about leaving home or are already missing know that they can call our helpline - 116 000 - for free, confidential support.

In February 2016, Outsmart and its members, as well as JCDecaux donated extra space in order for the charity to encourage the public to sign up to support the ‘Child Rescue Alert’. The initiative, launched together with the National Crime Agency and Groupcall, broadcasts appeals when a child is abducted or missing and considered particularly high risk. A total of 40,000 people signed-up to receive a notification from Child Rescue Alert during the two-week campaign as a result.

Staff from Outsmart member Primesight were so engaged by the partnership that they volunteered at a series of Appeal Days across the country, to raise awareness for people missing locally to their offices in Glasgow, Manchester and London.

Polly Balsom, Senior Communications Manager at Missing People said,

“This partnership has been transformational. More than 200 vulnerable missing children and adults featured in our digital appeals have been found safe. The partnership has created a new and highly effective tool to find missing people, contributing a significant saving to the public purse. Awareness of our free helpline and Child Rescue Alert services has risen substantially throughout the partnership too.”

Katherine Ashmore, Communications Manager at Outsmart said,

“Outsmart’s partnership with Missing People has given our members an incredibly powerful way to give back to their communities, by helping directly in the search for vulnerable missing children and adults. We are thrilled that so many missing people have been found safe, and that awareness of the charity has increased.

“And Outsmart has benefited too. The partnership has created a compelling industry-wide initiative that unites our members in a common goal and gives their staff energy and purpose. It has also attracted ministerial support and significant press coverage, including features innational media and key titles for the media industry.”

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