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On the buses: Missing People and Stagecoach launch campaign to tackle ‘disappearances’

Jo Youleand Martin Griffiths launch the campaign in Manchester Piccadilly Bus Station

UK charity Missing People, along with bus operator Stagecoach, has launched a campaign that will encourage people in crisis to call its free and confidential helpline before they think of disappearing.

The charity confirmed that it is hearing first-hand that financial issues like not being able to pay bills, unpaid debt, and food insecurity are driving people to think about going missing. In response, the charity launched a new preventative campaign in October to reach more people in crisis.

With around 100,000 adults reported missing each year in the UK, the charity extended its current preventative campaign to include a partnership with Stagecoach and is now printing the Missing People helpline number on its bus tickets.

Stagecoach operates over two million passenger journeys every day on more than 8,000 buses, including in major Northern cities including Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Hull and Sheffield, making it a high profile canvas for Missing People’s message.

The campaign began being rolled out across every corner of the UK almost two weeks ago and the charity has confirmed that calls from people in need who have seen the number on the ticket have started coming in.

Stagecoach bus tickets will now have “If you feel like disappearing or know someone who has gone missing, find ‘Missing People’ for support. Call the free helpline on 116 000 which is confidential and non-judgemental” printed at the top of the ticket.

Stagecoach has an ongoing partnership with Missing People as part of its Giving for Good initiative, which supports its commitment to donate 0.5 per cent of pre-tax profits every year to charitable causes. It also has national partnerships with Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity, the Trussell Trust and Happy Days. Through these partnerships, Stagecoach has provided financial donations and is also committed to supporting the charities wherever possible, for example by providing buses and helping to raise awareness of the great work of each of these charities.

Jo Youle, chief executive of Missing People, said, “The printing of our helpline number on Stagecoach bus tickets is our hope that someone in crisis sees it and we can be the support they need before they leave.”

Missing People’s recent research showed that four in 10 missing adults tried to take their own life while missing. National Crime Agency figures show that the number of people dying while missing has increased year-on-year for the past three years, with suicide the most common cause.

The charity is concerned that these numbers will increase as people face greater financial hardships and will see a rise in the number of people reported missing or taking their own lives.

If you have been affected, Missing People’s Helpline is 116 000 by phone or text. The free and confidential Helpline is available from 9 am-11 pm, 7 days a week, thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Missing People also has a website where advice can be found.

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