AN Alresford store drafted in some serious muscle to help launch its fundraising campaign.

On Saturday (Jan 18) two ponies from Broadlands Group RDA were in town to raise awareness of their work and set the campaign in motion.

The group, based in Medstead, provide therapeutic riding for those with learning and mental disabilities. Their chairman of trustees, Nigel Hoppitt, was joined for the event by head of Alresford Town Council, Cllr Lisa Griffiths, the Co-op’s retail business manager, David Fulton, and MP Steve Brine.

Broadlands will be the sole recipient of this year’s community support card campaign (CSC), receiving up to £15,000.

Under the scheme, customers have their card swiped when they shop and the more the card is swiped, the quicker the funds are donated.

Mr Hoppitt said: “Being selected to be the recipients of their scheme was a lovely start to the year for the trustees and all involved at the stables.

“As a local charity raising all the funds to care for the ponies, this is a welcome relief from the pressure of fund raising and a boost for all those helping the riders and looking after the ponies.”

David Fulton said: “This charity, which is run by such dedicated volunteers, makes an amazing difference to the lives of people it helps, so it was an easy decision for our bid panel that they be our 2014 CSC recipients.

“We’re appealing for the Alresford community to get behind the scheme simply by asking for a free CSC card at the store and having this swiped each time they shop here.”

Broadlands Group RDA will also hold an open day in the summer with the Co-op’s support.

Last year the CSC in Alresford donated £10,000 to Busy Bees Pre-school in Bishop’s Sutton and £5000 to Alresford Rugby Football Club Minis.

Last year more than £180,000 was donated to good causes across the South.