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isolated-sun-and-sea_1025-281   - editor David Wilson  07714772707 -   Journalist,   07917730238

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A planning application for The Forum 2, the second collaborative development between Southend-on-Sea Borough Council and South Essex College, has been submitted.

 Following the success of The Forum that opened in 2013, ADP Architects has developed plans to complete the educational quarter with a new ‘younger sibling’ building. The development features a mix of accommodation that includes an expansion of the Focal Point Gallery, including contemporary and community art gallery space, a café run by the College and open to the public, a new digital art hub, and a range of performance spaces for dance, acting, and music, and recording studios.

 Plans also include a digital workspace which aims to deliver affordable workspace for local creative and digital businesses, provide affordable access to the latest digital arts equipment and will include co-working space, meeting pods, workstations, an editing suite and a seminar room.

 Angela O’Donoghue, Principal of South Essex College, said: “We’re extremely excited that planning has been submitted for our proposed new provision in Southend. This new facility will allow us to increase our popular digital, media, music and performing arts offer in Southend plus provide the town with a new restaurant, benefitting students and the local communities we serve.”

 Cllr Kevin Robinson, cabinet member for business, culture and tourism, says: “A second phase to this site was always envisaged and so I am pleased that a planning application has been submitted.

 “The mix of accommodation would, we believe, create a vibrant and lively environment that should enhance the town’s burgeoning educational quarter and also encourage the public and students to visit and use Elmer Square more.”

 In February 2018, it was confirmed that £6m of funding had been awarded from the South Essex Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP), with the council contributing £2.7m, and the college contributing the rest.


Subject to planning permission being granted, the scheme is due to complete in 2021.

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Plans submitted for The Forum 2

Children and young people who live with special educational needs and disabilities and their families are being encouraged to help Southend-on-Sea Borough Council spread the word about important services.

 The Local Offer is a national requirement designed to put all the information children and young people up to the age of 25 living with special educational needs and disabilities, their parents or carer, might need about relevant help, advice, products and local services.

 Southend-on-Sea Borough Council is in the process of refreshing the Local Offer website pages and would like input from any individual or local business which has an interest.

 Cllr Anne Jones, cabinet member for children and learning, said: “We really want the involvement of the people who will be using these pages to access information. The Local Offer was introduced as a way of the public accessing reliable and relevant information about local services regarding special educational needs and disabilities. But the website is only as good as the information we are provided with.

“I would encourage young people, parents, carers and businesses to become champions for the cause and have an active role in redesigning the new website pages and information, so we can be sure we are providing what is wanted and needed to the residents of Southend.”

If you want to become involved, please email

Get involved with the Local Offer

 Mark's portrait of Elsa James, artist and activist, photographed at Firstsite in Colchester, where her ’Black Girl Essex’ residency is currently running. Copyright the artist

Essex photographer Mark Massey is working on a portrait project that challenges the stereotypical portrayal of the 'Essex Girl', and is looking for people from all cultures and backgrounds to participate.

 Each portrait is a collaboration rather than just an interpretation; Mark encourages suggestions on location, themes, pose and dress etc, so that sitters are projected in the way that they would like to be portrayed.

If you identify as an 'Essex Girl' and would like to get involved, contact Mark on More details about the artist's work can be found at

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Photographer seeks 'Essex Girls'

High Sheriff calls for applications

Local voluntary and community organisations are invited to apply for a grant from the High Sheriffs’ Fund.

Grants of up to £5,000 are available from the High Sheriffs’ Fund, which was established to recognise community initiatives that address crime, community safety and anti-social behaviour, and is managed by the independent charitable trust Essex Community Foundation (ECF).

Projects that have received grants previously include a personal safety scheme for older people, educating young people about the dangers of carrying a knife and deterring drug and alcohol abuse.

  The deadline date for applications is Monday 2 December, so now is the time for organisations to apply for a grant to support their work.

 This year’s High Sheriff of Essex, James Bettley said: “The historic role of the High Sheriff is to promote law and order, and it also now encompasses encouraging and thanking those who work to ensure the safety of the residents of Essex and to improve the quality of their lives.


  “There are an extraordinary number of voluntary and non-profit organisations working at the heart of our communities, and this is an opportunity for them to receive the recognition and support that they deserve.”

 An independent panel of judges, chaired by the current High Sheriff and including past High Sheriffs, will review the applications and allocate the awards which will be presented by the High Sheriff at a special ceremony in March 2020.  

Since the Fund came under ECF’s management in 1997 it has distributed grants totalling over half a million pounds.

 Caroline Taylor, chief executive of ECF said, “ECF is delighted to work with successive High Sheriffs, helping them to direct funding where it is most needed and tackle important issues at a local level. The grants team are on hand to speak with voluntary organisations about their work. Please call them on 01245 356018 to discuss making an application”.

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High Sheriff of Essex calls for grant applications

The Leader of Southend-on-Sea Borough Council has claimed the council’s new administration will be “unrelenting in its resolve to tackle inequalities in the town”, after a national study into deprivation in England has shown that the Southend borough continues to be home to both the most and least deprived areas the country.

The English Index of Multiple Deprivation, published on Thursday by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, shows that the Borough of Southend includes nine of the 10% most deprived areas of England but also 13 of the least deprived.

 The study measures deprivation by scoring seven “domains of deprivation”- namely income, employment, education, health, crime, barriers to housing and services and living environment.

 Commenting on the latest study, Leader of the council, Cllr Ian Gilbert, said: “This study shows that since the study was last conducted in 2015, the position in Southend has not changed greatly. We continue to have the many of the characteristics of a London Borough, with affluent and deprived areas cheek by jowl. As an administration, we will be unrelenting in our resolve to tackle inequalities in the town.

 “Deprivation can impact on almost every aspect of a person’s life – it can shorten life expectancy, increase your chance of suffering poor health, see you living in substandard accommodation, and reduce your chances of succeeding at education and employment.

“Reducing this divide won’t happen overnight but it as an area where we are determined to make clear headway.

“We are committed to substantially increasing the provision of high quality council homes and affordable housing and already started buying properties across the town to help meet our social housing needs. Indeed, we our acquisition programme is already paying dividends and will see some families moving from temporary accommodation to new homes by Christmas.

“We are continuing to promote opportunity and prosperity by supporting schools and families to raise educational attainment standards. Indeed, GCSE and A-level results continue to be above the national average and showing year-on-year improvements. In addition to this, we are committed to reviewing and improving the use of our children’s centres across the borough.

“And we are ensuring the town remains an attractive destination for major employers through the development of the Airport Business Park, support services for small and start-up businesses and by rolling out a “full fibre” network through our partnership with CityFibre.

“We have recently committed to become a Real Living Wage employer, ensuring all directly employed council staff are paid in accordance with the cost of living today.


"We will also be working closer than ever before with our partners in the emergency services and health services to ensure we are helping wherever we can to keep our residents safe and well.”


What is the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD)?


The Index of Multiple Deprivation, commonly known as the IMD, is the official measure of relative deprivation for small areas in England. It is the most widely used of the Indices of Deprivation. The Index of Multiple Deprivation ranks every small area in England from 1 (most deprived area) to 32,844 (least deprived area).


What is the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD)?


The Index of Multiple Deprivation, commonly known as the IMD, is the official measure of relative deprivation for small areas in England. It is the most widely used of the Indices of Deprivation. The Index of Multiple Deprivation ranks every small area in England from 1 (most deprived area) to 32,844 (least deprived area).



Resolution to tackle town’s inequalities