A PROMINENT charity has 'reluctantly' left Basingstoke after more than two decades of calling it home.

The Wessex Heritage Trust has been based in Basingstoke’s London Street for the past 21 years, but has now moved on to pastures new in Chandler’s Ford.

However, the trust, which has organised projects such as the EDGE Project and the Memory Box Project, will still continue to work in Basingstoke hospital.

The trust will continue its work in the hospital, but will not be bringing its new Memories Brought Home Project to Basingstoke, focusing on east and west Hampshire, as well as other parts of the south of England.

Director of development at Wessex Heritage Trust, Ian Smith, said: “The Wessex Heritage Trust moved its office on Monday [March 4] from Basingstoke to Chandler’s Ford.

“We felt like it was time to move on and that it was not the right time to have an office in Basingstoke so we have reluctantly had to relocate for the time being.

“However, we aren’t looking to make this permanent at the moment, and we might return to Basingstoke in the future, but we had no reason to stay at the Basingstoke offices when a lot of our work and projects are currently taking place elsewhere.

“We are still offering the Memory Box Project at Basingstoke hospital, and will continue to do so.”

The trust has been based in the area for just over two decades, and works with people of all ages to help them overcome personal disadvantage by engagement with their cultural heritage.

The organisation is well-known in the area, winning two separate Place to be Proud Of awards in 2018.

One was for its work with the Memory Box Project, which won the Health and Care Award.

The project, set up in 2016, designed 24 sensory boxes around 12 different themes, which stimulate the senses of smell, touch and sound to trigger memories for people with dementia.

The other award, the Arts and Entertainment Award, was for the trust-organised Hampshire Oktoberfest beer festival, which celebrated its tenth staging last year.

The plan is for the Oktoberfest to continue to be held in the Basingstoke area, but it will no longer be organised by the Wessex Heritage Trust.

Conversations are still ongoing as to who will be buying the rights to hold Hampshire Oktoberfest this year.