HUNDREDS of worried households across Herefordshire are having to turn to a charity to help the cope with the anxiety caused by the worsening cost of living crisis.

Vennture is a Christian charity, formerly the Hereford City Mission, which helps 120 families and 200 individuals around Herefordshire from a range of different backgrounds.

Its link workers mentor people rather than support them – they give those struggling skills and guide them to how they can make better choices.

A spokesperson said people are overwhelmingly anxious as the cost of living continues to rise, with energy bills set to rise by 80 per cent this autumn.

The charity says the anxious households which need its help are also living in the rural areas of the county, not just Hereford, and do not fit the stereotype the public might have.


It says most have ended up in positions of poverty through no fault of their own initially, as external circumstances have affected them.

Those from middle class backgrounds are said to have no strategies in place when something happens and are usually the ones that suffer the most.

Most families and individuals just need someone to believe in them – this is what Vennture's link workers are there for.

But the main thing they have noticed among all is overwhelming anxiety, as many recognise the rising prices looming and don't know how they will cope in the future or what will come next.

Time poverty is also another factor that forces many into a cycle, said the spokesperson.


They find families work incredibly hard to get as much money in as they can but struggle with

balancing time to look after their children and themselves alongside other factors.

They then don't have time to change the circumstances.

Poor mental health in parents can then have effect on children, said the spokesperson.

Those living in rural communities also can't afford to move into Hereford itself even if this seems a more cost-effective option in the long run, as there isn't enough social housing for them.

Although homes are being built, these are three-to-four-bedroom houses, which are unaffordable for people that are choosing between a meal or giving their children money for a school fete, said the spokesperson.

Concurrent bids by Vennture proposed turning the large building in Vicarage Road, Hereford, into either four or five flats, the four-flat version to include a ground-floor nursery if this proved viable.


But Herefordshire Council planning officer Simon Rowles concluded last week: "It is clear from the local representations that the building previously fulfilled a vast range of community functions and that the proposed use(s) could not be considered an enhancement, or even comparable, to those facilities."

"Insufficient information" had been provided to show that such uses were no longer required, he said, with the application turned down.

Using the building to provide interim living accommodation for needy families "has social benefits but does not amount to a community use that would fulfil policy objectives", he said – describing this as "a regrettable situation".