MARY Stevens Hospice has been given a new year boost – courtesy of Stourbridge News owner Newsquest.

The Oldswinford charity, which cares for patients with terminal diseases such as cancer and motor neurone disease, is among the recipients of grants totalling nearly £300,000 awarded to community organisations across the country this year by The Gannet Foundation UK – the UK charitable arm of Newsquest Media Group which publishes your Stourbridge News.

More than £16,000 has been allocated to causes in this region including £2,000 awarded to the hospice, based in Hagley Road, which will go towards buying two new mobile oxygen concentrators to help patients suffering from breathing difficulties such as those battling lung cancer.

Hospice bosses say the new devices will help to reduce distress for patients and boost their level of comfort and ability to communicate with family, carers and staff.

Alex Winstanley, grants and trusts fundraiser at Mary Stevens Hospice, said: “In the simplest terms, our patients will be able to breathe easier due to Newsquest’s remarkable generosity.

"A large number of our patients do struggle with respiratory difficulties at some stage of their illness and the difference it will make both to their medical health, but also their happiness and general wellbeing by alleviating those difficulties with the new oxygen concentrators can’t be overestimated."

Nationally Newsquest has given more than £3million to charities across the country over the last decade.

The trustees, who make the grants, received an array of deserving applications but whittled down the list to those they felt would deliver the most worthwhile practical benefits to communities.

Chairman of the trustees, Simon Westrop, said: “Year on year, we are seeing better applications with more focused attention on different ways of helping - caring for the present but also building for the future.”

Two charities founded in the 19th century by a group of benefactors including novelist Charles Dickens were also among the recipients.

The Journalists’ Charity and Newstraid, which helps people who worked in the newspaper industry but have fallen on hard times, were both awarded £15,000 each.

The Gannett Foundation UK, which makes the grants, retains a modest reserve for urgent applications ahead of the next round of awards which will be announced towards the end of 2018.

Applications can be made through Newsquest Media Group editors.