A Romsey charity will have no money worries for the next year after receiving an unexpected £10,000 windfall.

Romsey Family Support Group received the donation from the town’s Southern Co-operative store, via its Community Support Scheme.

Chair of the support group, Joan Stallwood said she had no idea they would receive such a large sum.

“How marvellous it is to have received this colossal amount. We can’t believe the generosity! It takes the funding worry off us and has provided a whole year’s funding to cover what we provide for families,” she said.

The group, based at the Appletree Centre, was set up more than 40 years ago to offer advice and support for families with pre-school aged children who are experiencing difficulties.

It runs three sessions a week helping 20 families at any one time.

Mrs Stallwood said: “The big cost to us include insurance, covering the cost of bus fares for families who can’t get to us easily, travel costs for volunteers, training costs for staff and parents, cookery ingredients and utensils for classes. Also helping families with emergency funding as well as paying for treats like days out for families to the beach and pantomime, plus lots of small things, like art and craft equipment for activities that all add up but make a huge difference to the families we that support.” Funding for the group comes from grants provided by Hampshire Children’s Services, the Children’s Society and the Big Lottery Fund Awards for All, BBC Children in Need fundraisers, Hampshire Primary Care Trust, Romsey Community School, the Rotary Club of Romsey, Test Valley Borough Council, Romsey Lions Club, St Vincent de Paul’s Roman Catholic Church, plus donations from businesses and indviduals.

Mrs Stallwood concluded: “No one in need of help is every turned away. “Whatever the need is, we will endeavour to help make life a little bit easier for families. We rely on the goodwill of volunteers and the generosity and kindness of local people, who help no end, to continue, as well as doing plenty of fundraising. There is no charge for families to attend.”

Mum Kerri Cocks, who works at Romsey Co-operative store has, herself, received help from the support group and she said the charity was worthy of the cash.

“Romsey Family Support Group was such a big help to me. At the time I didn’t know other mums with babies and didn’t have a big support network. I joined their trips and classes, met other parents and made friends. The group was also there to listen and point me in the direction of organisations that could help,” said Kerri.

“They have a strong connection with local people and are an important part of Romsey’s community. I’m really pleased that the Southern Co-operative has been able to give their support as it makes such a difference locally.”