The Forum Southend-on-Sea is a unique and exciting partnership project which has brought together a state-of-the-art library, cultural and learning facilities to the heart of Southend City Centre.

Never before in Britain have three organisations worked in harmony together on such a prestigious and ambitious scheme. The £27m enterprise is delivered jointly by Southend-on-Sea City Council, the University of Essex and South Essex College.

Completed in August 2013, The Forum Southend-on-Sea provides the City with a state-of-the-art integrated municipal and academic public library. By pooling resources in this way, the three partners can offer residents and students alike unprecedented access to the books, archives and records they jointly hold. This joint approach means each of the organisations benefits from upgraded and expanded library and learning opportunities. As a result, their joined up and more cost-effective services meets the changing needs of the community and gives better value for money.

There is room for people of all ages, young and old, to read, study, research and take part in different activities at the Forum.

In addition, the four-storey building provides a modern new teaching facility for University Centre South Essex and a stimulating new research and learning environment for the University of Essex.

The development is vital to enable the University of Essex to provide the best possible learning facilities for its Southend campus and gives the University Centre South Essex more dedicated teaching space for its higher education provision.


The Forum at the Southend-on-Sea is easily accessible for all users, including those with specific access requirements.

All areas have been designed and assessed as compliant with the equality act and previous the disability discrimination act.

Toilet blocks, lifts and other public areas are designed for wheelchair use.

A dedicated changing spaces room, and baby change room can be located on the ground floor.

The Lecture Theatre and teaching rooms are equipped with hearing loops. We also have a portable hearing loop that can be used in any of the library areas.

A wheelchair is available for use within the building.

If you have any particular access needs or require further details to plan your visit, please chat to The Forum Reception team who will be able to help.

Alternatively, telephone us on 01702 534111 or email the team using the address given in the Contact section of this website. If you require information in alternative formats, again please contact us for assistance.

The Forum Gallery/Community Space

The Forum Gallery/Community Space

Hire The Forum

We have a number of rooms within The Forum that are available to hire.