A CHARITY that helps people with severe and enduring mental illness has scooped a £2,500 prize.

Cherry Tree Nursery, which is based at the New Road Roundabout in Northbourne, provides sheltered work rehabilitation and is marking its 25th year.

On Friday it was crowned the winner of the Helping Hand competition, run by Tesco, in partnership with the Daily Echo, to mark the opening of the new store at Wimborne Road, Kinson.

After nominating six finalists via the newspaper – more than 1,600 nominations were received for 118 different organisations – shoppers then voted in the store for their winner.

The competition was so popular that the shortlist was expanded to six good causes, with the five runners-up winning £500 each.

The finalists were Homes 4 Heroes, Lewis-Manning Hospice, The Bourne Academy, Dorset Dog Rescue, Cherry Tree Nursery and Home-Start.

Store manager Trevor Henstridge was joined by Bournemouth West MP Conor Burns to tell excited Cherry Tree Nursery volunteers that they had bagged the top prize – the MP said it was fitting that an organisation “deeply rooted in the community” had won.

Jessica Davies, nursery manager at Cherry Tree, said: “We are absolutely over the moon to have won.

“It means so much to us that people from the community voted for us and we’d like to thank everyone at the Tesco Kinson store as well as all their customers for this incredible donation.”

Trevor Henstridge said: “I’m thrilled with the response that we had to the Tesco Helping Hand competition. Our customers and the readers of the Daily Echo really got behind it, which was great to see.

“Hopefully, it marks the start of a really positive relationship with the local community.”

Sally Teixeira is working as the store’s Community Champion.

Trevor added: “The Helping Hand competition was a fantastic way for us to mark the store’s launch and our commitment to the community of Kinson. I would encourage any schools, charities or community groups to get in touch with Sally if they are interested in working more closely with us.”