A MILITARY veterans charity is to take over a a popular nursery which helps people with their mental health.

West Worcestershire MP Dame Harriett Baldwin has welcomed plans which will see a new operator take over the running of the popular LINK Nurseries in Powick.

STEPWAY will take over the running of the nursery which helps people suffering with mental health problems.

The future of the popular nursery and shop was put at risk after the  withdrawal of Warwickshire College Group from Malvern.

The site, which was on the land of the former Powick Hospital, is owned by the NHS and has been managed by the Bransford Trust since 2016.

Warwickshire College Group has now decided to withdraw from the lease agreement and a new operator has been identified to take over the site.

Military veterans’ charity STEPWAY has committed to taking over the site following a bid process managed by the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust.

Dame Harriett said: “Over the years, I have worked with a number of partners to try and secure a long-term future for the popular LINK Nurseries, and I am enormously grateful to Colin Kinnear, at the Bransford Trust, who has allocated funding to keep the site going over the last eight years.

“The was an historic site with a mental health legacy and it has been used for many years offering horticultural therapy as well as a popular local shop.

“I am delighted that it has been preserved for this purpose and I look forward to seeing STEPWAY’S plans and hopefully visiting in due course.”

 Dawn Turner, founder and CEO for STEPWAY said they are delighted to announce they have won the bid to lease LINK Nurseries off Hamilton Close, Hospital Lane, on a five-year contract from the Herefordshire and Worcestershire NHS Trust.

This centre was originally attached to the old Powick Hospital for people who were recovering from mental illness. When Powick Hospital was closed in the early 1990’s, the LINK stayed open for care in the community.

Dawn said: “It was and still will be used to support mental wellbeing through horticultural therapy and different craft groups. There is also a community farm shop and a café.

“Going forward, STEPWAY will be expanding the support services to include and build on the existing support groups, other activities, therapies, and group sessions.”

STEPWAY will be creating a joined-up approach to community wellbeing as well as making LINK Nurseries into a warm and welcoming community hub for all to access and enjoy.

Primary Care Network NHS will be visiting as well as CAB for advice, support, and social prescribing.

The shop will be open six days a week providing the essentials to Powick district, and the café will be serving refreshments and food.

Dawn said: “County Coun Tom Wells has organised a public meeting on Tuesday. May 28, at 6:30pm at the LINK Nurseries.

“This is your chance to voice any concerns or questions. “STEPWAY welcomes any suggestions of what you would like to see at the LINK and the volunteering roles available to work alongside the wonderful existing volunteer base.

“The news of winning the bid is special to me, as I started my nurse training at Powick Hospital as a psychiatric nurse. To gain a contract from the NHS to run LINK Nurseries is a huge personal life achievement.”