WITH more than 360,000 missing people in the country, a Wigan dad has launched the perfect aid to reunite lost loved ones.
Steve Gannon, of Platt Bridge, set up Social Alert Me at the end of last year, which sends messages to people registered on its website about absent men, women and children with a 50 mile radius.
Using a team of just five volunteers, the 36-year-old visits police websites to set up the alerts via Facebook and Twitter across the UK, and following requests, has 118 countries registered.
Steve, a father-of-four, said: “This originated from a missing pet system after I lost my dog and put a post on Facebook about it. Within 20 minutes someone had seen my post and my dog was found. So I set up a missing pet scheme and a charity in Scotland – Help Find My Child – got in touch and I changed direction.
“I spoke to the police and moved on from there. I found there was a real need for this system. All the information is available on police websites, but I will be making it more accessible and reaching more people.”
Steve is working solely with Devon and Cornwall Police, which will automatically upload their missing persons data to Social Alert Me, meaning volunteers will no longer have to input the information.
This is expected to go live from November 22 and Steve hopes all forces across the country get involved.
Steve added: “I have currently looking for more volunteers, as there is a lot of work.
“I even have police officers in America, who are volunteering, as we are so busy with missing people over here, we can only do the odd one there.
“I get a lot of e-mails and letters from parents thanking me for our help. The police do a great job, but we don’t see what they are doing. By putting alerts on Facebook and Twitter, we are reaching people who do not see the original police alerts.”
Stevens efforts have already won him some awards.
Social Alert Me won the Best Community or Charity Group category in the What’s On 4 Awards, which celebrates the best activities from throughout the UK.
He was also a runner up in the Volunteer of the Year category.
He has been awarded a place on the Lloyds Banking Group Social Entrepreneurs Programme.
As part of this, he will be given £4,000 in funded training and grants through the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE), along with 150 other individuals,
To register with Social Amert Me, visit www.socialalertme.com