It’s celebration time for our Stronger Together group after our five-week Christmas campaign hit the £1,000 mark.

Readers’ generous donations have drummed up the vital cash after the campaign shared stories of parents of children with additional needs and disabilities who have leaned on the group for friendship and advice.

The response to the campaign has been resounding, with delighted staff and volunteers at the March-based service saying they have been stopped in the streets by readers to commend them for their fantastic work.

Service Lead Anna Palmer was thrilled at the amount raised.

She said: “We know Christmas is a busy time for everyone, so to see people have taken the time to read the stories of these incredible parents and donated to our campaign speaks volumes for them and the service.

“The money raised will make a huge difference to our group but getting the word out there about what we do has been just as important.

“We want to make sure that no parent in need of support misses out.”

Peterborough Matters: Anna Palmer, service lead, and Harriet James, senior practitionerAnna Palmer, service lead, and Harriet James, senior practitioner (Image: Ormiston Families)

The group, delivered by staff and volunteers of East of England family charity Ormiston Families in both March and Whittlesey, offers parents a safe place to talk about the challenges they are facing.

Members of the group are able to share their experiences with parents who may be in similar circumstances and are provided with informal advice in accessing financial support, securing places for their children in special education schools and in notoriously exhausting diagnosis processes.

Parents of children with additional needs and disabilities often face these challenges in isolation.

harriet James, a senior practitioner at Stronger Together, hopes the Christmas campaign has underlined the importance of the group to a new audience.

She said: “Even if it’s not always something that’s talked about, the need for support services like ours is always there.

“We’re passionate about supporting the SEND (special educational needs and disability) community.

“We want parents in the area to know that there is a helping hand right around the corner and that they are not alone.”

Anna encouraged readers to continue supporting the group long after the Christmas campaign ends.

She said: “Funding from donations and grants is crucial in keeping us running.

“We want to be able to deliver this amazing group to as many families as we can for as long as possible, and the money raised from this campaign will help us do that.

“If people are able to donate whatever they can to help us raise even more money this Christmas, we would be enormously grateful.”

Debbie Davis, editor of Newsquest's Cambridgeshire's titles, siad: “Like so many, we have been touched by the moving stories shared by the parents supported by Stronger Together.

“We are immensely proud to have supported Ormiston Families’ Christmas campaign and to have raised awareness of this amazing service.

“We hope the sum we have raised together will be able to help the group support even more families in the region.”

Tanya from March, aged 40, who regularly visits the group alongside her son Hendrix, who is tube-fed, had a final message for our readers.

She said: “If anyone in the area has a child with additional needs and needs support, I would absolutely recommend they come to our group as we’ll welcome anyone with open arms.”

You can continue to support the fantastic Stronger Together support group a number of ways:

Donations to our Christmas campaign can also be made via cheque, made payable to ‘Ormiston Families’ and sent via post to Ormiston Families, 25 Queens Street, March, Cambridgeshire, PE15 8SN.

On behalf of Stronger Together, we thank you for your support this Christmas.