A PIONEERING drop-in centre providing emotional and practical support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people is throwing open its doors.

Support U - the first LGBT centre of its kind in the south of England - is holding an open day from noon-3.30pm on Saturday, April 28, at its offices in South Street, Reading.

The organisation provides a central hub linking a network of LGBT groups to offer health, relationship, employment and legal advice, plus social activities and services ranging from a Hate Crime Reporting centre to homelessness and drugs and alcohol counselling.

General manager, Lorna McArdle, said staff have helped around 20 clients since it was officially opened by X-Factor 2010 finalist Danyl Johnson last month, and added: "We invite the public to join us to see the services we offer and what we have been able to do in a very short space of time.

"People can see our new premises and meet the organisations we work closely with." The event, which is open to all, includes displays from LGBT artists, plus family entertainment run by jugglers and circus skills teams.

People can also meet staff and volunteers and learn about its classes fitness, mental and sexual health advice and telephone service.

The centre also plans to set up regular arts, crafts, photography and theatre sessions, plus outreach support for LGBT elderly people and young people and adults with LGBT parents, siblings or children.

Contact 0118 375 5260, see www.supportu.org.uk, follow @supportu_rdg on Twitter, or search SupportU.rdg on Facebook for details.