Helpline to plead for annual Government funding

Dominic Wood

The National Missing Persons Helpline will meet Home Office officials tomorrow to plead for an annual grant amounting to a third of its annual £1.7m income, which the charity says it needs to ensure its long-term survival.

The charity was saved from insolvency last Thursday by an emergency funding package of £300,000 from the Home Office and £250,000 from seven trusts.

Until last week, the charity had never received core funding from the government.

Sophie Woodforde, the charity's head of press and publicity, said: "It is very appropriate that the government part-funds us because we provide a public service and take 50 per cent of our work off the shoulders of the police and other agencies."

The cash injection means the charity has enough money to operate until the end of July, providing it makes further cuts.

Four case workers have already been made redundant and many staff have had their hours reduced to save £120,000. A further £80,000 must be saved within the next few months. Co-founders Janet Newman and Mary Asprey were moved from their senior management roles last month to become ambassadors and fundraisers.

Former head of personnel Sash Newman has been made acting general manager with an urgent mission to advertise for the charity's first chief executive.

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