A Legacy of Love in Action
Hereford City Mission was one of many initiatives that John Venn, vicar of St. Peter’s, undertook with his sister Emelia. Together their initiatives transformed the plight of Hereford’s struggling families in 19th century Hereford and their legacy of iconic buildings shapes the city today.
To feed the poor, the Venns built a Corn Mill, opened a soup kitchen and acquired garden allotments to allow people to grow their own food. To encourage well-being, the Venns opened a sick person’s dispensary and public baths. John built a model farm, pioneered building houses with gardens, and invested a great deal of energy in developing earth toilets to improve sanitation. In addition, John and Emelia built a school and large children’s home. They encouraged the development of Hereford’s public library and encouraged the YMCA to open in the city.
The impact that John and Emelia Venn made was remarkable – truly miraculous. For nearly fifty years they shared a passion and manifold endeavours to serve the people of Hereford. They were steadfast in faith… joyful through hope… rooted in charity.
The Venns established Hereford City Mission in 1856 to employ individuals and stop them entering the workhouse, and to visit struggling families in their homes to support them and encourage their well-being. In 2013, Hereford City Mission was born again as Vennture to address the impact of public funding’s ebbing tide on local people. Our challenge is to act as modern-day stewards of the vision the Venns held: the transforming power of Jesus’ love.