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People with missing loved ones from across Scotland will gather for a special Christmas Carol Service at St Andrew’s and St George’s West in Edinburgh this evening.

Organised by Missing People, the event will be the second time the charity has held a Carol Service held in Edinburgh, bringing together friends and family with missing loved ones and supporters of the charity, which is a lifeline when someone disappears.

The programme will include words and music from key supporters of the charity including Annabelle Ewing MSP, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery Clara Govier and local school ESMS.

Jo Youle, Chief Executive at Missing People, said: “Christmas can be a particularly difficult time of year for the thousands of families all over the UK who are missing a loved one. We are honoured to welcome some of these families to our Carol Service in Edinburgh this evening.

We’re also delighted to be joined by so many supporters who make it possible for us to continue to help families across Scotland, including guests from the Scottish Government and People’s Postcode Lottery. It’s thanks to their generous support we can reach out to even more missing children and adults in Scotland around the clock”

The charity was recently awarded £59,519 of Scottish Government funding to increase the help available to missing people in Scotland. There are around 100 reports of missing people in Scotland every day, many of which relate to a person who has been reported missing previously. The charity’s free and confidential helpline provides 24/7 support to these missing children and adults and their families desperately waiting for news.

Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs at the Scottish Government, Annabelle Ewing, said “The Scottish Government has given almost £60,000 funding to Missing People to develop training to assist people returning from periods of being missing.

The training will deliver key commitments in the National Missing Persons Framework for Scotland, published earlier this year, by helping to prevent people repeatedly going missing through appropriate intervention and support.

This evening’s service for families of missing people helps to highlight, both the support that is available through the charity and that people continue to go missing in Scotland on a daily basis.”

The free Carol Service will be followed be a retiring collection which will benefit the charity’s annual Home for Christmas appeal, which aims to raise funds to keep their free, 24/7 helpline open throughout Christmas and New Year.