Southend-on-Sea's Herd in the City makes a mammoth impact

It’s official – Herd In The City was a resounding success for both the city of Southend-on-Sea and local hospice care.

Havens Hospices, the charity behind last year’s much loved Herd In The City trail, shared the findings on the impact of the event which showed huge benefits for the local tourism industry, visitors, partners and sponsors, and Havens Hospices.

An overwhelming 98% of people rated their trail experience as excellent or good and were proud to have the art trail in the city. The trail encouraged public pride and helped bring people together, with 89% of people saying it brought a sense of community to the local area.

The family-fun event, created with Wild in Art, saw 118 colourful elephant sculptures stomp around Southend-on-Sea in the summer of 2023 and was enjoyed by more than 90,000 visitors.

Charlie Langhorne, Managing Director and Co-founder of Wild in Art said, “Herd In The City created a feel-good factor right across Southend-on-Sea and the surrounding area. Our aim was always for the trail to bring real value to the local area as well as raising funds for Havens Hospices and I’m delighted to see the results of the evaluation. The figures clearly show the impact which happens when the business and creative sectors join forces.”

Not only did Herd In The City turn the city into a free outdoor art gallery, it had a total economic impact of £3.3 million, contributing over £1 million of gross value added (GVA) to the local economy through purchases such as refreshments, shopping, visiting other attractions or staying overnight in local hotels.

Half of visitors were from Southend-on-Sea, a third from Essex and 17% were from other areas of the UK.

One trailgoer who took part in the survey said, “It really brightened the city. The elephants were very well placed and provided added interest to visiting Southend.”

Another added, “They brightened up the town, raised money for charity, made us visit other areas that we don’t often go to, like Leigh-on-Sea, and spend quality time doing the trail with my daughter. We loved every minute.”

The art trail also encouraged people to be more active, with more than three-quarters of people saying the event enhanced their health and wellbeing, with 76% encouraged to walk more than usual and 75% to get outdoors more. The optional pedometer on the Herd In The City app tracked more than 72 million steps walked by visitors over the trail.

The art trail raised an elephant-astic £580,000 for Havens Hospices, which provides specialist care and support for local people of all ages who are living with incurable conditions so they can make every day of their life count.

The majority of people who took part in the survey (96%) would welcome the art trail to return to the city.

Vanessa Harvey, Project Manager of Herd In The City at Havens Hospices, said, “These impressive results further highlight the tremendous impact that Herd In The City had on our local community and its significant contribution to the local economy.

“We would like to thank everyone who got involved and had a ‘ton of fun’ last summer. Special thanks to all our partners, sponsors, artists, volunteers, and trailgoers for their support – Herd In The City would not have been possible without you.”

The care provided by the local charity is free of charge and only made possible thanks to donations and fundraising initiatives such as Herd In The City.

The report was conducted by research agency NewcastleGateshead Initiative and saw 622 respondents.

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