Let’s build on the great culture we have in Southend

Here in Southend we are lucky to have a thriving cultural scene, with great facilities such as the Beecroft art gallery, the Jazz centre in the old central library and many pieces of artwork that can be found around the town including in the victoria shopping centre. As a town we play host to the Southend Fringe Festival, Southend Pride, Southend Film Festival, and many other events which occur throughout the year that bring people far and wide to experience our unique cultural offering.

Which is why I am pleased that after meeting the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Jeremy Wright MP, who visited Southend with his family to enjoy the attractions, he announced that Southend will be one of only 11 areas that will benefit from a £4.3 million government grant for The Thames Gateway Cultural Development fund led by the University of Kent. 

The Thames Gateway Cultural Development fund aims to help develop a globally-significant creative production corridor. Through a programme of cultural research and development, training and mentoring for local organisations, and new arts commissioning, a consortium of partners will develop a well-connected creative cluster.

This is the first investment of its kind, launched as part of the Government’s Creative Industries sector deal and administered by Arts Council England. Showing that Southend is at the forefront of new Government investment.

This is an exciting opportunity for Southend not only to showcase our already flourishing cultural scene to a wider audience but to also expand on our current offering. This of course doesn’t just benefit the artistic part of the town but will also contribute to our local economy and landscape of our town. As such, making Southend a more prosperous and appealing place to live than it already is.

As always, should you or anyone you know have any issues or questions that I can be of assistance with as the Member of Parliament for Rochford and Southend East please do not hesitate to contact me by email at james@jamesduddridge.com, by post at the House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA or by calling my constituency office on 01702 616135.