A railway firm serving Wiltshire is teaming up with the Missing People charity to help those in crisis.

South Western Railway said it can attract people who are at their very lowest, and railway stations not only provide a way of getting away, but stations can also be safe havens for vulnerable people, with shelter, toilets and Wi-Fi.

Throughout October, posters and announcements will appear across SWR’s network, one of the largest in the UK, directing people in crisis to call or text 116 000 for free, non-judgemental, and confidential support.

The news comes after a huge number of missing person appeals were put out by Wiltshire Police this month.

In the UK, somebody is reported as missing as often as every 90 seconds, and often public transport is used as a way for them to run away or be taken away.

The ‘Safe Way Home’ campaign's posters, advertising and announcements will encourage anybody already missing, or considering going missing, to reach out for help.

“We are committed to safeguarding vulnerable people on the railway, so we are proud to partner with Missing People on this important campaign,” said Peter Williams, customer and commercial director of South Western Railway.

“This campaign encourages anyone on our network who is missing or thinking of going missing to contact Missing People for support.  

“By partnering together, I hope that more people in crisis get the help that they need, keeping people safe and reuniting them with their loved ones,” he added. 

In 2021-22, almost 170,000 people were reported missing, and 70,000 of those were children. However, the true figure is likely to be higher as sadly not all missing people are reported.

While there can be many different reasons why people go missing, public transport is something that many missing people cases have in common.

“That’s why Missing People is delighted to partner with South Western Railway to reach people who may be in crisis, and to let them know confidential support exists,” said Jo Youle OBE, chief executive of Missing People. 

“The support of SWR, with awareness and vital funding, gives us the best chance of providing a safe way home for missing people,” she added.