Safe, reliable, caring street support presence formed the foundation of Vennture’s early mission after the charity was revived in 2013. Now, our Street Presence teams have grown to support different groups of people on the streets of our community during the day and night, and have set up a secure, comfortable location where those needing further support can receive aid.
Our Street Presence consists of Street Pastors, Ambassadors, and the Lean-on-Me programme, who all work to provide reassuring, friendly and compassionate support to anyone needing help, directions, first aid, encouragement, or a listening ear on the streets of Hereford.
Our COVID-19 Response
2020 was a tough year for many people – we all experienced feelings of loss, fear, isolation, and uncertainty, but it was especially difficult for the people Vennture works to serve. We knew our charity had to adapt to these unprecedented circumstances, in order to not leave anyone behind or without support during an extremely trying time.
Throughout the year, we took a different approach – we did not furlough staff and instead developed and launched several initiatives to ramp up support for our community despite lockdown and COVID restrictions. Our initiatives were centred around the idea of ‘BRAVE’ – to Build Resilience Against Endemic Vulnerabilities.
Our BRAVE idea created a new response tier within Hereford and the surrounding area to offer support where needed. For the first time through COVID, each homeless person in our community was identified, located and engaged with regarding support. Our aim was to put homeless people in the lead, and to empower them to participate in housing and support solutions that help them settle into a “home” rather than just a “house”.
Whilst lockdown and COVID-19 restrictions reduced our Street Pastor night-time activity, our daytime Ambassadors programme grew, supporting the Police on the street 7 days a week to provide a calm, reassuring presence through lockdown. Through this activity, we created the ‘Vennture Lifeline Triage,’ connecting those found in crisis on the street with the support they needed.
In homes, our Link Workers worked with 105 families and 63 individuals throughout the year, coming alongside them in their daily lives. We continued work with Close House, the Police, and local Children’s Services on mentoring 15 children from crime. We also launched our Lottery-funded ‘Family Prevent’ mentoring programme, to work with schools to support families and prevent escalation of their troubles to a professional intervention.
Our Lottery-funded development collaboration with St Paul’s Hostel in Worcester on rough sleeping and sofa-surfing was also accelerated through lockdown. We led on support for 85 of the 140 people brought in under the Government’s ‘Everyone In’ policy. We now have a commissioned team of Street Link Workers, a secure data capture system and shared delivery plan with the Council.
All throughout this crisis, we worked in partnership with the Chair of Adult Safeguarding, the Police, the local NHS, Herefordshire Council, and emergency planners. We were determined to have a positive impact on our community during a time when many organisations were closing their doors, and did our utmost as a team to address the needs of the most vulnerable during this world crisis.