A HEREFORD group has started a new initiative that has already seen them save a life and three missing people.

Mallards are the latest extension to Christian charity Vennture's Hereford street patrols that work to keep people safe.

The group will be working with police and Herefordshire Council's CCTV team.

"You saved my life", that was the first thing said to a Vennture Mallard patrol, said the spokesperson.

Vennture volunteers speak with PCSO Charlotte House while patrolling Bishop's Meadow park in Hereford. Picture: Rob DaviesVennture volunteers patrol Bishop's Meadow park.

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From twilight to midnight, the uniformed Mallard volunteers work in teams of three out of their bright vehicle showing their logo.

They provide a calm reassuring presence on Hereford's river paths, Castle Green and The King George V playing fields.

"Like our Street Pastors, Mallards are there to listen, care and help," said Ian Purcell, Vennture's street presence lead.

"Mostly it is about a friendly hello or a simple chat, and it is amazing the difference a smile, or a few kind words make when someone is anxious or feeling alone."

Vennture volunteers speak with PCSO Charlotte House while patrolling Bishop's Meadow park in Hereford. Picture: Rob DaviesVolunteer, Antony Beckett arrives at Bishop's Meadow park in the Vennture supplies vehicle.

Vennture's volunteers are also trained to respond to far more serious situations – the patrols have a member trained in street triage.

This week a Mallard patrol helped police find a missing person.

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Searching the riverbank, the volunteers found the man concerned - dripping wet, desperate, and very anxious.

The volunteers came alongside him, wrapped him in a blanket and reassured him as they waited for emergency services to attend.

Finding missing persons consumes huge amounts of police time, as shown in the BBC series 'Reported Missing'.

The Vennture volunteers work closely with West Mercia Police Safer Neighborhood Teams, providing a reassuring visible presence in our communities and help to protect and safeguard the vulnerable, said Chief Inspector Greg Tudge.

"As part of West Mercia's Safer Streets initiative, Vennture volunteers play a vital role in making the city safer for everyone," he said.

Vennture volunteers speak with PCSO Charlotte House while patrolling Bishop's Meadow park in Hereford. Picture: Rob DaviesPCSO Charlotte House speaks with Vennture volunteers during a patrol of Bishop's Meadow park in Hereford.

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Vennture's work finding missing people borders on the miraculous – so often they seem to be in the right place at the right time – it is almost like people want to be found by them, said a spokesperson.

This month alone Vennture's volunteers have helped the police find three missing people – one was knocked out in a culvert on a night out, another was a husband lost on a shopping trip by his dementia-stricken wife and then this very troubled man, who put himself in the river at sunset.

As he lived to see the dawn, he was offered further support.

Vennture help people in the moment and then link them to their mentors and link workers.

"Some people's journey starts in crisis," said Ian Purcell.

Vennture volunteers speak with PCSO Charlotte House while patrolling Bishop's Meadow park in Hereford. Picture: Rob DaviesLead executive of Vennture, Rob Thomas.

"We then do all we can to come alongside them. We want to love people better and help them get to a better place. It isn't easy. Life can be hard and unforgiving. We don't judge.

"Our volunteers and link workers stick with people through thick and thin."

Vennture's approach is grounded and rooted in nearly ten years' experience helping local people.

A woman the street volunteers found coming out of the river is now back on her feet, returned to a well-paid job that she loves and reconnected with friends and family.

Over 18 months of highs and lows, Vennture's mentoring support helped the woman get back to a place where she could once again help herself.

As the cost-of-living crisis looms, Vennture are recruiting volunteers to join their Mallard Patrols.

They seek to be a safe presence. People can expect to see them with their car, also known as the donkey, lights on, in red uniform and three torches on.

"It's a great way to keep fit, make friends and do good," said one of The Mallards.

If you are interested in volunteering or supporting the work of Vennture please email enquiries@vennture.org.uk.