More than £4million has been awarded towards an ambitious project to help establish the Thames Estuary as a world leader for the creative and cultural industries.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has awarded £4.3million from the Cultural Development Fund to the Thames Estuary Production Corridor (TEPC) partnership.
The funding will kick start a £6.7million #CreativeEstuary programme, which aims to unlock culture-led growth across Thurrock, south Essex and north Kent, helping establish the region as a creative hub.
It is hoped the initial 3-year programme will create more than 500 new creative industry jobs, with skills training for over 200 local people, 60 apprenticeships and countless opportunities for people to engage with world class artists from across the globe.
Cllr Deborah Huelin, Thurrock Council's portfolio holder for communities, said: "This funding is excellent news and reaffirms the Government's commitment to the long-term prosperity of the Thames Estuary.
"Thurrock is already home to a number of exciting cultural and creative industries, including Kinetika, the Royal Opera House Bob and Tamar Manoukian Production Workshop and Costume Centre at High House Production Park and the Thameside Theatre in Grays.
"We look forward to working in collaboration with our partners to help establish the Thames Estuary as the world’s largest creative corridor."
Christian Brodie, Chair of the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP), added: "Creative industries employ more than 30,000 people and generate £25billion worth of GVA across our area, making them a vitally important contributor to our economy.
"The Thames Estuary corridor is unique in its position, offering access to London markets and with land available for development. This is being recognised and capitalised on by our creative industries.
"This announcement of Government support for the #CreativeEstuary programme is testament to the collaborative working and tireless efforts of a number of bodies to promote the creative industries on both sides of the Thames Estuary."
The TEPC partnership is a unique cross-boundary partnership that was established by the South East Creative Economy Network (SECEN) – a working group of SELEP and the Greater London Authority (GLA), supported by Thurrock Council and Kent County Council, who together launched the TEPC vision in 2017.
The partnership is a consortium involving SELEP, 11 local authority areas represented by Thames Gateway Kent Partnership and Opportunity South Essex, South East Creative Economy Network (SECEN), the GLA, Royal Docks and seven east London boroughs, University of Kent, University of Essex and cultural organisations Metal and Whitstable Biennale.