The founder of a website aiming to support people to stop drinking alcohol, is fundraising for £40,000 to develop a mobile app.

Soberistas, which currently operates off of an ‘outdated’ website, was founded in 2012 as an alternative resource for people to get sober.

The founder, 46-year-old Lucy Rocca of Fulwood Road, Sheffield, said: “When I set up Soberistas, I was broken and had low self-esteem. I used to drink heavily and had an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, but I wouldn’t have called myself an alcoholic.”

Soberistas is a non-judgemental social media website, allowing its 75,000 worldwide members to connect and support each other to become and remain alcohol-free. 

Data produced by Public Health England in 2021 estimated that there are 602,391 dependent drinkers in England, 82% of whom are not accessing treatment. 

Ms Rocca said: “Alcoholics Anonymous can seem too extreme. People struggle with the word ‘alcoholic’ and there is a stigma behind asking for help… Degree educated, professional women struggle to ask for help.”

The success of Soberistas was never expected by Ms Rocca, who, in a bid to keep the price of membership low, has started a campaign to raise funds to develop an accessible app to help grow the sober community. 

Ms Rocca said: “An app means taking all the best features of Soberistas and concentrating them into an easy-to-use, current and effective resource that helps you to stay alcohol-free and on track with your healthy lifestyle.”

The fundraiser has currently raised £4,905 of its £40,000 target. 

The work of Soberistas has been praised by many local Alcohol support services and researchers alike. 

Josie Soutar, CEO of Sheffield Alcohol Support Service, praised the project. She said: “Online peer support networks like Soberistas play an increasingly important role in the type of addiction support available for people…

Addiction doesn’t raise its ugly head simply during office hours so any support that can be easily accessible, 24 hours a day is a very welcome addition.”