Cabinet member for economic growth and investment, Cllr Daniel Nelson, discusses the importance of art, elephants, cyclists and ghosts.
September is a big month of events and festivities at the council with Southend City Jam launching this weekend, followed by the Tour of Britain and the conclusion of the Herd about Town trail.
As portfolio holder for economic growth and investment, I am pleased that tourism is included because I think it plays a vital part in the reinvigoration of our beloved City. I've said in public meetings that I believe Southend has the potential and opportunity to become a ‘Miami-on-Thames', somewhere people flock to for glamour, glitz, fun and entertainment. The ambition is there and the boost that such a reputation would give to our local economy would make it all worthwhile.
We know as residents, that Southend is a fantastic place to live, work and play. Our challenge is to get even more from outside our boundary lines to realise the same - more visitors spending their spare cash in our City means that more investors will come, jobs will be created and developers will build houses for those that need them.
For me, the very first step on that ladder is the creative and cultural projects and events that we have coming up this month. Southend City Jam is Europe's biggest, and some would argue best, weekend long, street art festival. All different styles and methods of artistic creation are brought directly to the streets of Southend and all residents and visitors have to do to see and appreciate the art on display, is open their eyes as they walk around, as our City is transformed into a living, breathing art gallery.
Then just one week later, we have the honour of hosting the start of stage six of the prestigious Tour of Britain cycling race. It starts at 11.45 on Friday 8 September at Western Esplanade and as a keen cyclist myself I know it it will bring a lot of cycling and sport enthusiasts to our City, just as the Women's Tour did in 2021. Seeing international athletes performing in a prestigious race and have them cycling past some of Southend's most iconic landmarks and busy streets, brings a certain pride and joy to everything we do and have achieved here in Southend and I am proud to have played a key role in deliverign thjis event to our City.
The end of September sees the conclusion of the Herd in the City trail for Havens Hospices, which has been a huge success and drawn many visitors in as they take advantage of supporting a worthwhile charity, walking around our beautiful City, and meeting the individually decorated elephants, which are everywhere - even on the pier!
Then it will be time to start preparing for Halloween and half term, as we hurtle towards October and the annual highlight of the Halloween Parade, alongside the launch of the seafront fireworks, which this year is being organised by the seafront traders, with our full support.
I hope to see as many of you as possible at City Jam this weekend. Please enjoy the last weekend of the school summer holidays and best of luck to all those embarking on the next chapter of their educational journey - whether that be starting school, starting college, starting university, or starting work or an apprenticeship.
Cllr Daniel Nelson
Cabinet member for economic growth and investment.