THE project to redevelop Watchet’s East Quay has received a cash boost of nearly £400,000.

The Onion Collective CIC, the group behind the project, has been awarded £389,000 by Arts Council England.

Five groups across the South West have been given a share of £1.7million.

The aim of the grant is to provide arts and cultural organisations with necessary buildings and equipment to produce and deliver their work, while improving the environmental sustainability.

Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England, said:“We are delighted to award over £1,744,506 in Small Capital Grants to five arts organisations in the South West. Ensuring arts and culture organisations have the right capital assets is of utmost important to be able to produce work of exceptional quality - from the the rural coastal development of East Quay in Watchet, to the growing visual arts offer in Plymouth – this investment allows the organisations to further develop their organisational resilience, to advance as sustainable and innovative businesses, which in turn enables more people to experience the benefits of art and culture.”

At the beginning of October, it was announced work was due to start ‘imminently’ on the project.

The Onion Collective says the development will be a place of enterprise, creativity and activity intended to bring visitors, create jobs and provide opportunities for young people.

The project includes an expansion of an art gallery, a new education and studio space and a refurbished quayside realm.

Jessica Prendergrast, director, said: “We’re over the moon to have received this funding from Arts Council England towards the East Quay development in Watchet.

“The Arts Council has been so supportive to Contains Art and Onion Collective over the past few years, enabling us to bring amazing artwork and opportunities to the families and children of West Somerset.

“Now with this investment in the capital build also, it’s a real sign of how much they think it matters to ensure that exciting cultural experiences can be on the doorsteps of rural communities, not just the preserve of the nation’s creative and economic centres. West Somerset will benefit for decades to come.

“We expect to start on site in the next few weeks and for the building to be open to the public by the summer of 2021. It’s been quite a journey to get this far and we’re thrilled to be able to get started.”