A man from Sheffield has created an app to support people who are struggling with addiction and recovery.
The app, Meet4acoffee was designed by 31-year-old Samuel Bennett, after he struggled due to a lack of support during his own recovery from alcoholism.
He said: “When I was trying to get clean I really wanted support and it wasn't there.”
Samuel’s alcohol abuse started at age 13. He said: “My mother said I was an alcoholic at 14, I was in rehab on my 18th birthday and I’ve been homeless as well.”
He added: “I’ve been through hell and back…I’ve lost friends, family, loved ones even children.”
Meet4acoffee is a social networking platform, that allows users to sign up and state whether they are 'in recovery', 'not in recovery' or 'other'.
The app shows profiles nearby and gives users the chance to connect with like-minded people and reach out to help others too.
It will include the feature “My circle”, which shows a person’s network of friends. Users can log their “clean days”, share photos, send messages of encouragement and receive notifications of friends’ milestones.
Samuel first came up with the idea when gave up alcohol and started trying to build new friendships. He said: “On social media apps everyone wants to go out and meet for a drink but I don't drink and people find that strange. It puts you in a difficult situation and for some people, it's not an option.”
The app is free and Samuel has said this is very important to him as he wants the support to be “accessible to people from all financial backgrounds”.
On top of this, the app has been designed so that it can be used by charities, health organisations and support groups. They will be able to use it with their clientele, creating their own “circles” as a way of extending the reach of their work.
Samuel said: “I've put everything in to make this work. It’s a really heartfelt thing for me and I think it could save lives”.
Meet4acoffee is set to be released for android users soon but Samuel recognises that this is only going to reach “50% of the people it could be helping”.
It is the only app of its kind and has the potential to help millions of people who need support with addiction. Samuel is hoping that with donations, the app can also launch on the apple store and reach a wider audience.
Get a notification to sign up when the app launches at the Meet4acoffee website. If you are interested in Samuel’s story and want to know more about the app or if would like to donate visit meet4acoffee.com or vsearch for @meet4acoffee on Facebook.
Samuel will be talking to BBC Radio Sheffield about the app on Monday morning breakfast show at 7:30.