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Community projects and events

The majority of the regeneration projects in East Colchester are centred around creating a new sustainable community at the Hythe, the site of the town's former port. This area was particularly affected by the closure of the port and the loss of many traditional jobs associated with it. Issues related to health, social and economic inequality however are not exclusive to this specific area. East Colchester contains three of the Borough's four Wards with the highest levels of deprivation.

The first of development in East Colchester therefore focused on tacking these issues with a £13 million social investment programme, which included a £2.4 million Government grant.

The programme included:

  • The development of a new enterprise centre in Magdalen Street which is operated by Colbea, the preferred operator for a Business Incubation Centre in North Colchester. 
  • Two new community centres, the Hythe Community Centre and the Oak Tree Centre in Harwich Road, St. Anne's.
  • A new children's nursery at Colne Reach.

As well as physical regeneration projects a number of community based activities have been organised at the Hythe to bring together new residents, and the area's existing residents, to ensure there is a shared ownership of the area and an understanding of the area's heritage and long term vision for the Hythe.

Arts Projects

A number of community based art projects have already taken place in East Colchester, which have helped to improve the look and feel of the Hythe, whilst encouraging an understanding of the area's history.

To find out more about the various Arts Projects that have taken place in East Colchester, including the Heritage Hoarding pictured right .

Further projects are being developed connected to the Hythe Station improvement work..

Hythe station hoardings

Clean Up events

Clean up events have also been carried out in the East Colchester Regeneration Area which have been supported by Local Councillors, residents and local groups. The Sea Cadets, for example, who are based at the Lightship on the River Colne, have used their skills and expertise to support the Clean Up events by focusing on clearing rubbish from the River Colne.  The Garrison have also been active in assisting this work along with Community Payback Working Groups.

Sea Cadets cleaning up the river Colne as part of the Hythe Clean Up event

Hythe Community Centre

At the heart of the East Colchester regeneration area, the Hythe Community Centre is the focus for much of the area's ongoing community activities. Run by the Hythe Community Centre Association the Community Centre in Ventura Drive offers health, education and leisure facilities with a variety of activities on offer throughout the week. The Centre is also home to two extremely popular youth clubs.

For more information about activities and events at the Hythe Community Centre visit their website by clicking here.

Hythe Community Centre

Hythe Fun Day and Hythe Forward Events

Run in conjunction with national Heritage Day, the Hythe Fun Day were run for a number of years.  However, more recently Hythe Forward, working with Hythe Community Centre and other local groups, have organised community based events.

Town to Port Trail

To launch the wayfinding and interpretation project in May 2013 a public event was held on King Edward Quay including music, Guided Walks, historic talks, community stalls and was attended by over 5000 people.

Hythe fun day
Other groups and activities

There are a number of groups that are based in the Hythe that give the area its vibrant feel and help to improve life in East Colchester.

Colchester Sea Cadets

The Colchester Sea Cadets are based at the T.S Colne Light (ship) on King Edward Quay. Pictured right, T.S Colne Light (ship), is a familiar local landmark moored at King Edward Quay. To find out more visit their website Colchester Sea Cadets

TS Colne lighthouse ship
Moors Movement

The Moors Movement is a local group of volunteers who look after the important wildlife habitat in an area known locally as the Moors. The Moors is a hilly green area between the River Colne and Hythe Hill. Read the Moors Movement blog here.

Town to Sea Trail marker at Moors East Colchester


Hythe Forward Community Land Trust
The Council provided a grant of £30,000 to Colne Housing to develop a community project in The Hythe.  This comprised the establishment of a Community Land Trust involving local residents and business owners.