A Hampshire charity that provides free help for families going through difficult times has won a huge cash boost.

Romsey Family Support Group has received an unexpected £10,000 windfall to help the organisation with running costs.

After receiving the cash from the town’s Southern Co-operative store, manager and chairman of Romsey Family Support Group Joan Stallwood said the cash would make a world of difference to the Appletree-based charity, guaranteeing its vital services for the next year.

The charity helps people referred to the group by social workers and health visitors.

Mrs Stallwood said: “How marvellous it is to have received this colossal amount of money from the Southern Co-operative, 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.”

Romsey Family Support Group, which was set up more than 40 years ago, runs three sessions per week helping 20 families at any one time. Annually the charity has around 100 pre-school age children on its books whose parents are experiencing difficulties and need support and friendship. The money will be spent on supporting families with emergency funding as well as paying for treats such as days out to the beach and pantomime.

Kerri Cocks, who works at Romsey Co-operative store, benefited from help given to her by the Family Support Group.

She said: “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.”