A number of Essex’s Arts Council England National Portfolio Organizations are to benefit from £ 1 million funding over four years provided by Essex County Council (ECC).
Colchester venues Firstsite and the Mercury Theater as well as the Essex Cultural Diversity Project (ECDP) will receive funding to improve the lives of the county’s residents and attract visitors to the county.
The funding will help deliver ECC’s Everyone’s Essex and Leveling Up strategies and will see the organizations provide health and wellbeing programs for all ages, support those with mental and physical health issues through workshops, challenge stereotypes and create diverse events to benefit communities.
As popular destinations, Firstsite, The Art Fund Museum of the Year 2021, and the Mercury Theater, which has just undergone an extensive refurbishment to improve facilities for arts and audiences, will benefit the local economy by attracting visitors to Essex, along with generating income and creating jobs.
The EDCP, which works with diverse communities and the voluntary sector to develop skills and build sustainable networks, will support cultural practitioners from the county’s ethnic minority groups to deliver projects and programs.
Prior to the pandemic Essex had the third largest creative industry sector in the UK – employing over 25,000 people throughout the county – with the arts and culture sector worth an estimated total of £ 2.6 billion **.
Councillor Graham Butland, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Devolution, the Arts Heritage and Culture, said: “We are delighted to announce the funding as well as proud to continue to support these organizations which have provided health and wellbeing programs, exhibitions, initiatives and workshops for old and young alike over the years.
“These organizations are not only receiving funding as their aims align with ECC’s Leveling Up and Everyone’s Essex strategies but also because Firstsite and the Mercury are both well renowned within the regions arts and culture community and bring tourism to the area, while EDCP is known for its exemplary cultural events which bring diverse communities together. ”
For more information about ECC’s Everyone’s Essex strategy please click here.