A CENTRE which offers support, advice and information to Basingstoke charities has celebrated its 10th birthday.

Mayor of Basingstoke and Deane Councillor Martin Biermann joined representatives from local charities, businesses and the community at The Orchard to mark the milestone.

The centre was built by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council , next to War Memorial Park , specifically for the charity sector and was opened by The Duke of Gloucester in 2002.

Cllr Biermann presented awards on behalf of Basingstoke Voluntary Services (BVS), which is based in The Orchard, to five individuals who have made a special contribution as volunteers over the last 10 years.

The recipients were Judi Evans, from Basingstoke Rape and Sexual Abuse Crisis Centre, Jackie Jokhoo, from Basingstoke Citizens Advice Bureau, Kevin Laing, from Basingstoke Local Voluntary Sports Council, Kishor Luthra, from Basingstoke Multi-cultural Forum Rotary and Basingstoke Indian Association, and Geoff Belsham, from Mencap.

Special awards were also presented to the Basingstoke and Tadley branches of the Citizens Advice Bureau for supporting the community for more than 10 years.

Rebecca Kennelly, chief executive of BVS, said: “The Orchard open day was a wonderful oppor-tunity for the local community to visit this lovely building and discover the very valuable contribution local charities are making in and around the borough.

“It gave us the chance to thank our many suppor-ters and it was especially pleasing to be able to recognise the outstanding efforts made by both community organisations and individual volunteers with these 10-year awards.”