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Every year many hundreds of children and young people in Bolton go missing from their family homes, from school and from the ‘looked after’ system. We developed RUNA (Remember UR Not Alone) in response to this crisis. Our RUNA team works alongside Greater Manchester Police, Bolton Council, parents, carers and local schools to ensure runaways are returned safely and as quickly as possible. The service provides advice, guidance and support to the children and young people who have gone missing and those who are at risk of running away.


01204 385848


Urban Outreach Office,
Environ House,
Salop Street,
Bolton BL2 1DZ

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    About RUNA

    Our RUNA workers make contact with every child who is reported missing to the police in Bolton. They work closely with police officers in carrying out independent return interviews with young people, alongside ‘safe and well’ checks. They discuss the dangers and address the problems which cause children to run away. They support both the young person and their family in order to minimise future risks. RUNA links up with other professionals in taking co-ordinated action around children at risk of harm and exploitation.

    With the support of Bolton Council, we provide a ‘Response’ service which is triggered each time a ‘missing’ report is filed. This supported children at repeat risk of running, but who fall under the threshold for statutory agency intervention.

    A unique aspect of our service is the joint visits and intelligence sharing arrangements we have with Greater Manchester Police, who have placed a dedicated ‘Missing from Home’ officer to work alongside our staff. The continued success of our joint work in Bolton is now being used as a model for other areas. This is exemplified through our involvement with the Greater Manchester ‘Missing from Home’ Forum.

    Client's Stories - Runa


    Prior to this new service approach (which commenced in 2015), only 14% of return interviews in Bolton were conducted within the ‘72 hour’ government target of a young person being found. Over our 2022/23 financial year, we are pleased to report that 91% of our return interviews with young people were offered within the 72-hour government target and 64% conducted within the 72 hour government target. Our results remain consistently higher than the current national average of 56%.

    As a consequence of the above, we attended to 1,646 missing incidents in 2022/23, compared to 1,729 in the previous year. Similarly, the total number of return interviews completed last year was 1,050 compared to 1041 previously.

    We attended to a total of 530 missing young people last year. This compares to 565 in the previous year and 528 the year before that. Our overriding concern is to do all we can to bring this number down. Of the 530 last year, 415 went missing from their home in Bolton. 115 were Looked After Children (LAC’s) within the care system. Last year, the average number of missing episodes per child for children who live at home was 2.3. For those who were LAC the figure was 6.0. This illustrates that LAC’s experience more missing episodes and require more support.

    The team also offers a ‘preventative’ service for young people through the provision of one-to-one information, advice and guidance on risks and dangers, social media safety, rules and boundaries, emotional health and self-esteem, substance use, appropriate relationships, and recognition of child exploitation – linking with careers support and educational/ employment opportunities and access to health services. Specifically, in March 2023 we delivered a programme of preventative support at Ladybridge High School to 600 children.

    Parental/ Carer feedback this year has once gain included many positive comments on improvement in their child’s behaviour, emotional health, school attendance and communication. One mum commented on being “blown away” by the positive change in their 11 year old son after RUNA was able to refer to Bereavement Support following a bout of missing episodes. Another young person who has been a prolific missing young person and well know to RUNA also commented this year that “two years ago, I would have told RUNA to go away, but now I see that RUNA can help me.”

    Some of the comments we have received from parents are:

    “The worker was brilliant!”

    “RUNA has helped and he is always home at a reasonable time now.’

    “She has not been missing since. RUNA did a really good job and got on with her well. They got on the same level.”

    “We talk to each other more. We used to argue a lot.”

    “She is sticking to curfews and we are talking to each other more.”

    You can read Garry’s Story as told by his Head Teacher here.

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