MARY Stevens Hospice chiefs have reassured supporters that Dudley Council’s decision to start charging groups for using the Mary Stevens Centre will not affect the Stourbridge charity.

The hospice is one of four organisations which currently rent rooms at the Hagley Road centre alongside Age Concern, Dudley Mind and Beacon Centre.

Last week, The News reported that Stourbridge and Halesowen Age Concern – which have had access to a room at the centre for free for many years – thought the council’s decision would be a “big kick in the teeth”.

However, Stevan Jackson, group chief executive officer of the Mary Stevens Hospice Group, has said his organisation will not be affected by the charges.

He said: “I can assure our supporters that we are entirely happy with the situation.

“We have agreed a lease with DMBC for temporary occupancy by a small number of our team whilst we redevelop the hospice to improve the capacity and capability of our day services.

“There is an annual rent associated with our temporary occupancy but it will be grant-aided back to us provided we meet the agreed outcomes associated with the lease, which we will.”