SOUTH Essex's coastline could benefit from millions of pounds of funding following a Government announcement.

The Department for Communities and Local Government has launched a £90million grant scheme as part of the Coastal Communities Fund, designed to create jobs and boost tourism.

Grants ranging from £50,000 to £4million will be made available to volunteer groups, councils, charities, the private sector and community organisations.

The scheme aims to make seaside communities into places were people want to visit, live and work.

Colin Letchford, chairman of Friends of Concord Beach, a volunteer group on Canvey, hopes to secure funding to improve disabled access on the seafront.

He said: “I think it’s really a good thing, and it would help groups like ours looking to make changes on the seafront.

“If we were fortunate enough to successfully get some of the money, we would look to improve disabled access on the beach, in particular to the seawall. It would set us back £100,000 to do this, and there’s no way we could do this without any support.

“Right now we are in maintenance mode really.”

Southend Council has already benefited from Government cash, receiving more than £1.2 million to improve its seafront.

A lagoon will open at Three Shells Beach this summer, and the the Southend Marine Activities Centre will be set up to attract tourists and boost watersports in the town.

Mark Francois, Minister for Communities and Local Government and Tory MP for Rayleigh and Wickford, praised south Essex's coastal communities.

He said: “Essex has seaside gems like Hadleigh Castle, Thorpe Bay and the seemingly never-ending Southend pier which allow visitors to relax, unwind and wash away the troubles of the week.

“And with the seaside having recently regained its position as the most popular overnight holiday destination for Britons – nearly a third of all trips – it seems that we’ve fallen back in love with our coast.

“We’ll be investing this money wisely over the next four years and looking to coastal communities teams across England to lead the way with bids.

“These teams bring people together from local councils, businesses, charities and volunteers - to set out radical plans for how they plan to drive forward future growth, jobs and prosperity."

For more information on the funding, visit