MAJOR investment is set to be pumped into parts of the district as part of a new council initiative.

Rural parts of the Braintree district will receive further investment and support in a bid to strengthen local communities and help reduce social isolation and loneliness.

The plans were announced on Friday, at Essex County Council’s Levelling Up Rural Braintree launch at Sible Hedingham village hall.

County Hall says residents in rural Braintree can face more difficulties accessing jobs, services and social opportunities compared with more densely populated parts of the county and the area has been identified as a priority in its levelling up strategy.

At the launch event, the council announced new focused activity to address issues like digital and transport connectivity, social isolation, access to employment, pride of place and community wellbeing.

This includes £25,000 new investment to support the work of 'United in Kind' coaches in Braintree.

Working with the Rural Community Council of Essex, United in Kind plays an important role in tackling social isolation - encouraging and recognising acts of kindness and helping local initiatives and events get off the ground.

Arts and culture also have a huge role to play in thriving communities and the Essex Summer of Culture will work to connect residents in the area by bringing Midsummer Madness to Cressing Temple Barns in Braintree on June 25, which will feature author events, live music and theatre.

The levelling up event also saw the start of a programme of community engagement, which will see the county council work with local organisations to map out community priorities.

Braintree Council leader Graham Butland said: “Levelling up gives us opportunities to work together better and change the way we do things, so it’s great that discussions have now begun for us, as a partnership, to look at the wider opportunities for the Braintree district.

“One of our priorities is to listen and understand the key issues affecting our rural communities, and there will be an opportunity as part of this work for us all to engage with our communities and discuss how we can work together to spread opportunity and improve access to services.”