SOUTHEND’S bid to be named the City of Culture for 2021 took a step forward, during a community event to rally support.

The town has already been dubbed “Alternative City of Culture” by the group pushing for official recognition in 2021.

Former Southend councillor Sally Carr, co-chairman of the group, is keen to stress the town’s strong and diverse community.

She organised a networking day for community representatives and local businesses, including ice cream mater Rossi’s and train operator c2c.

Representatives from the Filipino, Spanish and Polish communities, were among those who met at Genting Casino, Westcliff, before enjoying tour of Foulness Island.

Mrs Carr said: “We had a marvellous day.

“Having the representation from different cultures with us made it a wonderful networking experience.

“There is so much going on in Southend that nobody knows about.

“The bid for 2021 has to be submitted in 2017 and has to be community-led. Events like these are a great way for people to find out what it going on and to help promote it.”