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ARTS organisations across Essex are set to receive almost £9million funding over the next three years.

The funding announced by Arts Council England will see seven National portfolio organisations in Essex receive £8,709,622 ensuring their work can continue.

The grants £1.693m for arts group Metal which puts on the annual Village Green event in Chalkwell Park and include £550,000 for the Focal Point Gallery in Southend.

Joe Hill, who was recently appointed as the gallery’s new Director, said: “This funding comes at a crucial time for Southend’s cultural landscape and is recognition of all that has been achieved by the team at the gallery. With the opening of our new space last September, the number of high-profile artists with international reputations coming to work in the town is growing.

“Visitor numbers to our exhibitions have more than doubled and we’re developing closer relationships with other cultural organisations in the region. This funding ensures we can sustain and develop a crucial space for contemporary art in south Essex.”

Other beneficiaries include Kinetika Art Links International and the National Skills Academy, both in Thurrock.

Hedley Swain, Area Director, South East, Arts Council England, said: "The new National portfolio for East of England contains a rich mix of diverse organisations, museums and artforms that will continue to support artistic excellence and talent development across the area.

“ It consolidates existing strengths while expanding the reach and engagement across the region, particularly in rural areas and places of low engagement, helping us to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to experience and participate in great art and culture.

“Embedded within the National portfolio across the East of England is a particular commitment to expand opportunities for children and young people, building on one of the region’s key existing strengths.”