BASILDON Council will be publishing the full schedule for its Christmas events next week.

The council is working in partnership with the non-profit organisation Things Made Public CIC, to provide several activities throughout the festive period.

The news comes hot on the heels of the Echo’s report that the council had controversially cancelled the traditional Christmas lights switch-on event in the town square

Leading up to Christmas and continuing into the New Year, the programme, dubbed “Culture Club Basildon”, will launch in East Square from the unit formally occupied by Mega Bet on Saturday November 17.

It will coincide with the opening of the festive food court, ice rink and fairground rides, organised by Basildon Town Centre Management (BTCM). Santa’s grotto will also be opened in the Eastgate Shopping Centre.

The town’s new Christmas lights will also go on for the first time in the evening, and real reindeer will be making an appearance, sponsored by GoTrade.

Andrew Schrader, chairman of the economic development and growth committee at the council, said: “We are committed to doing all we can to support local businesses and make the town centre as attractive as possible, with Things Made Public set to breathe new life into East Square and beyond. This partnership is a fantastic way to make use of empty buildings and stimulate investment.

“By delivering a programme of activities throughout the festive period, instead of focusing on a one-off event, we can encourage greater footfall and in turn have a bigger impact on businesses.”

Andy Barnes, communities committee chairman, said: “Things Made Public share our vision for working alongside communities to provide opportunities and drive improvements.

“Culture club is a fantastic way of bringing the community together, and I hope residents show their support by engaging in the programme of activities this Christmas and into the New Year.”

Events will be programmed both inside and outside of the Mega Bet unit, providing a platform to both local performers as well as those from further afield.

The line-up will include traditional Christmas choirs, live musical performances, community workshops, Christmas crafts, interactive street art and theatre shows. All will be free to attend.

Lauren Martin, Creative Director, Things Made Public CIC, added: "We're incredibly excited to be partnering with Basildon Council on this innovative project and look forward to creating a diverse, entertaining yet accessible programme of events that will have something for everyone to enjoy."

A webpage with the full programme will go live on Tuesday.