An initiative which helps young people who have been missing from home has won a top award.

The charity Catch22 has forged a strong and trusting relationship with Cheshire Police and Cheshire West and Chester Council, Cheshire East Council, Warrington Council and Halton Council.

The Pan Cheshire Missing from Home Service won the Partnership Working Award from the organisation Children and Young People Now.

Cheshire West and Chester Councillor Nicole Meardon, Cabinet member for children and families said: “This outstanding example of partnership working has been in place for the past three years with the charity working closely with Children’s Social Care Services and Cheshire Police.

“The partnership works across council boundaries and helps so many young people that its success speaks for itself.

Cllr Nicole Meardon of Sutton ward in Ellesmere Port
Cllr Nicole Meardon of Sutton ward in Ellesmere Port

“I would like to congratulate everyone involved for a job well done and I’m keenly aware that the service, despite its success, is continually evolving so that young people in a desperate situation have the help and understanding they need.”

Whenever a child goes missing, the service is swiftly alerted by police so that a ‘Missing from Home’ case worker can check up on the young person, find out why they have run away, what has happened and then work with them to help improve their situation and understand the risks.

Gill Frame, chair of the Cheshire West and Chester Local Safeguarding Children Board, said: “I congratulate the team on their success at the recent awards ceremony that recognised their vitally important work in Cheshire.

“We know that in Cheshire West and Chester we have a number of young people who have done direct work with Catch 22 and that following intervention 81% of those young people have not gone missing from home for a subsequent time.”

There were 2,907 people missing from home in Cheshire in 2014/15 involving 944 children and young people. Overall 72% completed a ‘return interview’ and 25% did not go missing again. Of those involved in longer term work, 84% did not go missing again.