With help from Missing People partner Royal Mail, we are encouraging people who are missing from their families to send a message to their loved ones this Christmas.
Through Royal Mail, we will distribute 10,000 cards for people who are missing, but do not feel able to return home, to send a message home for free.
Missing People patron Stephen Fry who is backing the campaign said: “When someone goes missing it’s very distressing for all concerned. I can testify to that because many years ago, I went missing. It caused enormous distress to my family, my friends and obviously to me as well. But one of the hardest things was being able to get back in touch, to reconnect.
“Missing People is a group of people who are caring and professional and have great expertise in this field. As this year ends, they've connected with Royal Mail to create a rather wonderful scheme which allows anybody to write to Freepost Missing People and that letter will get you in touch with who-ever it is that you want to talk to.
“It will be dealt with, with the love and compassion that Missing People show. It might help you reconnect and it might help, if you are missing someone, to slowly reconnect. I hope this wonderful scheme will help people and may reunite them with someone they love.”
It is hoped that the cards, which will be distributed in homeless shelters, day centres and hostels, will raise awareness of the Freepost Missing People address. Royal Mail and Missing People are working with more than 300 organisations including Crisis and Shelter who are likely to be supporting or in contact with people who are missing, or away from home, over Christmas.
Once a person, who is missing or away from home, contacts the charity by returning the Freepost card, Missing People will get in touch with them. The charity will then contact the person’s family and ask if they’re willing to receive a message. The family is given the opportunity to pass a message back, provided they are happy to receive one. The charity will not disclose the location of the missing person unless that is what they want.
Terrie Beardsley, whose husband Tim has been missing since 2012, said: “When someone you love has been missing for a long time, you have no idea if they are happy or okay. The thought of hearing that they are safe and well, even if it doesn’t feel right to come home, would mean the world after years spent wondering. Now people who are away from home have a new, free option available to them if they want to get back in touch. I hope that this project means that other people like me who are missing someone and waiting will get the news they have been hoping for”
Royal Mail and Missing People have a long-standing partnership. Since 2014, Royal Mail has distributed ‘high risk’ alerts to its 120,000 frontline employees involved in the delivery, collection and processing of letters and parcels. Child Rescue and High Risk Missing People Alerts are sent to the company’s extensive network of handheld scanners and all employees can see the alerts on its intranet and office TV screens.
Gary Grange, Corporate Responsibility Manager, Royal Mail said: “Royal Mail is dedicated to supporting the communities that we serve. We hope that those who are missing see the Message Home cards this Christmas and families can be reunited – or at least have their worries slightly eased – this festive season.
“Royal Mail’s electronic handheld receipt and signature devices are already set up to receive Child Rescue Alerts and we are continuing to support Missing People’s Freepost service.”
Read more about our Message Home campaign, or find out about ordering cards to distribute.