Levelling Up Essex
Today we have set out our strategy for levelling up the county and launched the first four initiatives - focused on communities and families - to support this work. The new initiatives are:
- a £500,000 Community Challenge Fund that will provide access to small grants for communities in the priority areas. The fund will empower leaders and residents to develop a vision for their local community and take forward projects that will help them to achieve it.
- a new financial wellbeing programme to empower people to effectively manage their finances which can have a significant impact on someone’s overall wellbeing.
- establishing a Family Friendly Employers Charter and working with local employers to implement and promote flexible, family-friendly working arrangements to enable people to be able to balance their work, family and other caring commitments.
- continuation of the Essex Holiday Activity Clubs over the next three years to engage and support young people and families who are eligible for free school meals and other families most in need of support during the school holidays.
We are focusing on the priority areas of Tendring, Basildon, Colchester, Canvey Island, Harlow and rural Braintree; and on supporting key groups, including people of all ages with mental health conditions, SEND or learning disabilities, children on free school meals, working families, and young people who have been out of training, education or employment for 6-12 months.
Currently, 123,000 people across the county live in neighbourhoods that are amongst the 20% most deprived in the country, but we are committed to widening opportunities for everyone in Essex to fulfil their potential. Our approach is to support good jobs, a high-quality environment, educational attainment and skills, healthy and active lifestyles and strong and resilient families and communities.
Cllr McKinlay, Deputy Leader of the County Council, said: “Essex has a great many strengths, but we need to widen opportunities, so that more people can fulfil their potential. We are very clear that Levelling Up is about taking action and working with our public and private sector partners, businesses, schools and communities. I look forward to rolling out our newly announced initiatives over the coming months.”
Rt Hon Justine Greening, Chair of The Purpose Coalition which sponsors national levelling up goals, said: “It is vital that all parts of the country have their own Levelling Up plans to widen opportunities in their areas. Levelling Up is undoubtedly a complex challenge, but I am pleased to see local authorities such as Essex putting plans into action and launching initiatives on a local level as we know that’s where change really happens.”
Read more about our plans for Levelling Up Essex.