Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Jo Youle: Resolutions and Revolutions for 2017

Matthew D’Ancona implores people to lead and not just follow in 2017, writing in the Guardian. It really caught my imagination whilst sat on the sofa with a Quality Street thinking about my resolutions and revolutions for 2017.

Sometimes it’s finding the ‘what’ when you make a resolution that’s the stumbling block. It’s probably the reason some of us make the same resolution several years running. Get involved. Get fitter. Speak up. Make a difference.

Perhaps becoming a trustee of a charity that inspires you could be just the thing.

It’s a ticket to the inside of charity heartland: to get involved; to have a say; to be at charity events; to meet people (or animals if that’s your world) who have benefited; to ask the right questions; to give the right steer. To lead and not follow.

It’s a chance to share some of your expertise. And it doesn’t need to be from the charity world. You may have business and commercial experience that might just add the value needed to help a charity thrive in the coming tough years. You may have priceless financial acumen and be able to spot a problem a mile off. You could be the person that asks the critical question no one else thought of.

You may have experience of needing the services of a charity. You might just be the all-important person on the board that ensures decisions made are truly grounded in the mission.

This charity may be the one to inspire you. Thankfully missing isn’t something we all know about. It’s not like cancer which 1 in 2 of us will experience in a lifetime. It’s not like a children’s or animal charity where nearly everyone empathises and no one blames.

But something about Missing People stands out. There round the clock. No judgements made. The right of people to go missing respected. The need to safeguard taken to heart. No cut offs made when people reach the age of 18. No cut offs made when a missing person has been missing for a decade. No end to the search. No end to the support until a missing person is found. A vision to find every missing person. What a great ethos. Society needs this charity. I’m biased, but it’s true.

Let me give you a glimpse into this world. Missing someone you love. Or being out there, missing. It could be you or me in the dark.

Imagine the day. A real day, and real stories shared by Rita, a crisis worker from our front line team. Identifying details have been changed to protect anonymity.

9.15am – a suicidal woman called from Europe. Her child’s missing in the UK and she’s unable to visit again to look for him. We supported her for over an hour.

Just before midday – a message from a missing child who’d been sexually abused, saying: ‘I’m now safe and sound. I feel so free and would never want to be in that situation again. You were my hero when I needed someone. I couldn’t imagine telling anyone else what had happened to me and who was doing it to me. Thank you for listening.’




2.30pm – a 15-year-old in Glasgow rang. She’d run away having found being a mum to a 3-month-old and dealing with depression too much to bear. She was scared what would happen to her baby if she went back home. She agreed to a 3-way call to police and they assured her all they were concerned about was her safety.

Shortly after 5pm – we became aware of the abduction of a 9-week-old baby so prepared for a possible Child Rescue Alert and a Royal Mail High Risk Alert. Thankfully, the baby was found safe and well just before we issued the Alerts.

Early evening – we made a support call to a mum in London with a high-risk missing daughter who’d been gone for over 24 hours and had left a suicide note. Mum was grateful to talk about how her beautiful daughter had gone from having a good job into drug addiction. As we were talking, the missing girl came home! She was distressed so we agreed to call back to offer our Aftercare service.


Mid evening – a helpline volunteer took a call from a 16-year-old in Devon who’d got a Textsafe message from us on his mobile. He’d overdosed and was very upset. We gently supported him and thankfully he agreed to us calling an ambulance. We stayed talking to him, ‘holding his hand’ from nearly 200 miles away.

Meanwhile, our local team met a young guy at his foster carer’s house to provide a ‘return home interview’. Missing three times in just one week, he was disconsolate and uncommunicative, but responsive to knowing he is cared about. He agreed to meet us again which is a small triumph.

It’s quite something to be part of Missing People. You could join us just when we start work on the next big plan. We’ve allowed ourselves to think big when times are hard for charities. To dream about potential and possibilities to help more people, when many charities are hunkering down. To double the number of people we help, and double the income to make it happen.

We know it will be hard, but it’s not impossible to achieve this. It’s a time for leading, not following. You could be part of that. A resolution for 2017. Could even be a revolution.

This post comes from our CEO Jo Youle.

We're looking for new Trustees to join our Board with skills and expertise in finance (Treasurer), strategic marketing and communications, political landscaping and fundraising. To find out more about being a trustee at Missing People or to apply to join our Trustee board, head to www.missingpeople.org.uk/TrusteeJob.

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Around 250,000 people go missing in the UK each year. The Missing Blog aims to give a voice to all those affected by this issue.

Written by families and friends of missing people, supporters working to raise awareness of the cause, and volunteers and staff at the charity Missing People, we hope that this blog will offer a window into the issue of missing.

The charity Missing People is a lifeline when someone disappears. To find out more about Missing People and ways that you can support the charity visit www.missingpeople.org.uk.

Call or txt the charity Missing People for free on 116 000, 24/7 if you or anyone you know is affected by a disappearance.