Cash crisis may see helpline close soon

    The National Missing Persons Helpline is set to close at the end of
    the month unless it can secure immediate funding.

    The charity needs at least £300,000 government funding and
    £250,000 from private trusts. Several of these have indicated
    that they
    are willing to match any money given by ministers.

    It has also asked the government to make regular contributions to
    the charity. At the moment the Home Office provides only short-term
    funding for particular projects.

    A Home Office spokesperson said: “We have assisted [the helpline]
    to identify suitable funding opportunities from outside government
    and we will consider the letter of February 2005 asking for funding
    once we have received their business case.”

    The helpline has the most comprehensive database of missing people
    in the UK and is a vital resource.

    Co-founder Janet Newman said that if the helpline ceased to exist
    it would have far-reaching and serious cost implications on
    government departments, local authorities and the police, who would
    have to take over its work.

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