LIFTING the mantle of depression or anxiety is the aim of a new group formed by a Malvern man.

Former town councillor Martin Lawrence has been running the successful Zest4Life friendship club for several years in Poolbrook.

He has now extended the club by founding Zest on the Steps, which meets on Fridays from 9.30am to 11.30am on Belle Vue island in the centre of Great Malvern.

Mr Lawrence welcomes anyone to talk to him about anything other than politics or religion, mainly about loneliness, crises or bereavement.

He said: “I do not offer advice or pity, I simply listen as the talker unravels what is causing them stress, thereby benefiting from a calmer mind.

"There been a lot of positive comments to myself or friends that have sat alongside me, all from curious strangers that have stopped to chat.

"Signposting people in the right direction where they may be able to get further help is very rewarding.”

“People can be excluded from the local community for any number of reasons: their own shyness, bereavement, family problems and mobility to name just a few.”

Zest4Life takes place at the Octagon, Brook Farm Drive, every Wednesday from 11.30am to 2pm.