A grant of £663,565 from the Government's Coastal Communities Fund has been awarded to the County Council to promote the Essex coast and its coastal path.
Path to Prosperity is a project raising awareness of the beautiful county coastline as a high-quality visitor destination with a diverse tourism offer, a project which will drive economic growth and the regeneration of Essex coastal communities.
The project is set to create 277 jobs by promoting the coastal path online, in print and on the airwaves, increasing visitor numbers and spending.
The project is also designed to convert 20 apprenticeship posts to 15 direct jobs, addressing skill gaps in coastal towns. Small and seasonal businesses on the coast will also be helped with training staff in customer service and team-leading skills.
The funding, announced this week, will also be used to:
- Target businesses along the coastal path with commercial support
- Encourage people to undertake off peak railway journeys to the coast, improving the sustainability of local branch lines
- Improve signs and infrastructure for bus services and public rights of way
- Introduce creative activities, including art and photography courses for local people and visitors, stimulating engagement in life-long learning and encouraging repeat visits to the coast.
The project was among 71 projects from Cornwall to Cumbria receive a total of more than £36 million in this latest round of funding.
Path to Prosperity will cost a total of £924,896 and, along with the £663,565 from the Coastal Communities Fund, will be financed by £261,331 in cash match funding from Essex County Council.
Councillor Simon Walsh, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Environment and Waste, said: “We are fortunate in Essex to have 350 miles of diverse coastline, from award winning beaches and traditional piers, to mudflats, saltmarshes and remote creeks, many of which are havens for local wildlife.
“It is so important that the Essex Coast is promoted as a tourism destination to people across both the UK and the World, so that they can enjoy its majesty and support the local businesses that operate there.
“I'm confident that Essex County Council and our partners have the drive and expertise to become leaders in coastal economic development. This new funding will only help support this aim"
Councillor Gagan Mohindra, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: “This is fantastic news and it's not the only thing we are doing to promote the Essex coast.
Next year we will celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower landing in Harwich. This will turn our coast into an international visitor destination and will have a really positive impact on the local economy."