THE UK’s leading creative charity, which was behind the construction of the fantastic new rehearsal space in Purfleet, is to base itself in the borough.

Creative and Cultural Skills, whose vision led to the £13.7million Back-stage Centre on the High House Production Park, will be moving its head office from London to the centre.

Council leader John Kent, pictured, has called the move the “moment we have been waiting for”.

The creative industries are worth more than £36billion a year to the UK economy and the relocation of the charity, coupled with the move to the borough by the world-famous Royal Opera House in 2011, puts Thurrock at the heart of the industry.

The Creative and Cultural Skills charity leads the campaign for fair access to the creative industries and through its academy intends to bring together industry professionals, employers, trainers and learners through hands-on education.

Cllr Kent said: “This is the moment we have been waiting for.

“The Royal Opera House’s move here brought the kudos of its worldwide fame and the fact Creative and Cultural Skills is relocating its head office to the Backstage Centre means this will become the nationwide focus for this specialist and hugely valuable economic activity.

“It will bring jobs and new people to the borough – it will put Thurrock’s name out there for more than a wonderful shopping centre and port-related industries.

“It will bring in money to our economy and it will help us all to hold our heads up high when we say we come from Thurrock.”

Pauline Tambling, joint chief executive of Creative and Cultural Skills, said: “By moving our staff out of London, we will be able to ensure we maximise our engagement with students and creative organisations in Thurrock as well as providing a national headquarters for our wider programme across England, Nort-hern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.”