Thursday, 6 June 2019

6 things I’ve learnt from volunteering at Missing People #VolunteersWeek

Bethany, one of our Policy & Research Volunteers chats us through the 6 things that she’s learnt in her time volunteering at Missing People so far and how volunteering remotely has meant she’s able to have full flexibility over her volunteer role, balancing it with her work and social life.


1. Volunteers provide vital support to Missing People 

Missing People wouldn’t be able to provide vital services to as many people as they currently do if it wasn’t for volunteers. I have seen and heard first-hand how much volunteers across every department benefit the charity and ultimately ensure that the quality of services Missing People offers remains high, and that as many people as possible can be helped.

2. Volunteering opportunities can fit around your lifestyle

While looking for volunteering opportunities, I was aware that my work and academic commitments meant I would need flexibility as I couldn’t commit to being available on the same day each week. At Missing People, I volunteer remotely, with occasional travel to the office or other locations in London when needed. Volunteering remotely gives me the freedom to fit volunteering into my schedule, and allows me to be flexible with my volunteering time. If you’ve been considering volunteering and have time available but cannot commit to being available during the same time each week, consider home based opportunities.

3.    The social care system is under immense pressure and Missing People’s work is more important than ever

Missing People’s policy team have recently been working on a research project examining local authority provisions for children who go missing. The main thing I learnt from being a part of this research is that the services Missing People provide are more essential now than ever before. Councils and charities are underfunded, while demand for the services they provide only continues to increase. Without charities such as Missing People providing resources and support to both those who go missing and their families, many people would go without the help they needed at what is often one of the most difficult times a family can experience.

4.  Volunteering looks great on your CV

Alongside obviously being amazing for the charity and the work it does, volunteering can help boost your CV and introduce you to new opportunities. It can be tough to get practical work experience in a new sector, and even harder to find an organisation that will give you the autonomy to use and develop your skills. At Missing People, I have been allowed to complete tasks in the best way I see fit, which has helped develop my problem-solving, research and analytical skills. Being able to demonstrate practical experience of using these skills has been extremely beneficial in both my professional and academic life.

5. What you get from the experience is up to how much you put in and how much you want to do

While volunteering remotely can sometimes feel like a lonely task, there are so many opportunities throughout the year for both home and office based Missing People volunteers to socialise with fellow volunteers, attend events to help those who are missing and their families, and promote the charity’s aims to a wide audience. 

Outside of your core volunteer hours, you can choose to commit as much time to the charity as you wish.

6. You can make a real impact on the organisation and people it helps

One of the most satisfying elements of volunteering is knowing that you are playing a small part in helping children and adults who often find themselves in terrible situations with nobody else to turn to. As part of the Policy and Research Team, I’m proud to be supporting Missing People’s long-term mission of proposing policy that is evidence-based and protects some of the most vulnerable people in society. Meeting and working alongside people who work tirelessly on behalf of those whose voices are not always heard is inspiring, and arguably the most rewarding element of my volunteering experience.

We would like volunteers from across the UK to get involved and support the cause. We’ll have some new volunteer opportunities going up on our website in the coming weeks that are able to be done remotely so keep an eye out on our website here. Alternatively, you can also get involved with our Micro-Volunteering tasks which can be done anywhere in the UK and go a long way in raising awareness of the charity as well as specific missing people in your local area. A full list of our Micro-Volunteering tasks can be viewed here. If you have any questions about volunteering, please contact Charlotte to find out more.

A big thank you to all of our volunteers who have shared with us about their volunteer role and what volunteering is like at Missing People over the last week. On behalf of everyone at Missing People, we want to thank all of our volunteers for all the time, skills and experience they contribute to the charity – with your support, we can continue to be a lifeline.

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Someone is reported missing every 90 seconds in the UK. 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

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