Bradford awarded £2m to celebrate the creativity of its citizens

Bradford has won major new investment from Arts Council England to become one of its new Creative People and Places locations and to engage its citizens and celebrate its richly diverse culture.

Bradford’s project is called THE LEAP and has been led by the landmark Born in Bradford (BiB) project, which is tracking the health and wellbeing of more than 13,500 children from before birth to adulthood.

THE LEAP will be delivered by a new community-focussed consortium committed to making a step change in arts and cultural opportunity, involvement and participation across the district.

Professor John Wright, Director of Bradford Institute for Health Research, which oversees BiB and is part of Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “One of the really interesting findings from BiB over the last decade is how important arts and culture are to our wellbeing and happiness.

“We are so excited to be leading this new project that will unite the city and inspire a generation. Bradford’s Creative People and Places is called ‘THE LEAP’, inspired by our BiB artists-in-residence, Ian Beesley and Ian McMillan, who capture the energy of our children leaping into the future in their poems and photographs.

“Today’s news will spark a collective leap of joy across our wonderful city and strengthens our bid to become UK City of Culture 2025.”

Julia Skelton, Executive Director of Mind the Gap theatre company, part of THE LEAP consortium said: “Creative People and Places funding is very special in that it engages members of public in shaping their own arts and cultural provision.

“It’s not about taking art and culture to people, it’s about encouraging and enabling people to celebrate the arts and culture in their communities and giving them amazing opportunities to work with professional artists from Bradford and beyond to make extraordinary things happen.”

THE LEAP is a 10-year project. This £2m funding by Arts Council England will launch the project and fund the first four years of activity.

The investment will benefit the whole district with activities for everyone to participate in and enjoy. Its core work will focus on some of the most disadvantaged areas of Bradford where opportunities to engage with arts and culture are few and current levels of participation are low.

The project will begin in early 2020, starting in the wards of Manningham, Bradford Moor, Tong, City, Keighley West and Keighley Central, aiming to generate up to 100,000 new attendances at new arts and cultural events.

Pete Massey, Director, North, Arts Council England said: “Congratulations to Bradford on being awarded Arts Council England Creative People and Places National Lottery funding.

“Creative People and Places is all about getting more people engaged in the Arts and Culture by having local people help to shape what’s on offer.

“Bradford’s Creative People and Places consortium is the first in the country to be led by an NHS body, which underlines the great potential for arts, culture and creativity to contribute even more to the health and wellbeing of local people. Focusing on communities in Bradford and Keighley, this project aims to inspire communities across the district to get creative and get involved in culture in their local area.”

Bradford district has galvanised and united behind THE LEAP with more than 70 partners and affiliates already signed up including Bradford Council, the Business Improvement Districts in both Bradford and Keighley and the local NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups.

Bradford’s Council Museums and Galleries and its Arts Council England-supported national portfolio organisations have backed the project including the Bradford Literature Festival, Impressions Gallery and Kala Sangam.

THE LEAP is also supported by community organisations such as Project 6, Build A Girl and BIASAN (Bradford Immigration and Asylum Seekers Network). High profile national cultural organisations including the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Halle Orchestra and the British Film Institute are also partners.

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council added: “Culture enables people to explore skills and talents they never knew they had.  It also gives people confidence and shows Bradford district off to our best advantage.

“The low levels of engagement in arts and culture in some wards highlight the challenges in delivering high quality art that is relevant for a population that is younger and more diverse than any other eligible Creative People and Places areas.

“Born in Bradford and local arts and community organisations have put huge energy into this bid which will be a game-changer for Bradford and builds on our drive to become the UK’s City of Culture 2025.”

Bradfordians will shape THE LEAP which is now seeking members of the public who may be interested to volunteer as changemakers for their communities.

Changemakers will be at the heart of THE LEAP programme, steering the direction of the work, encouraging people to get involved and selecting and working with artists. Changemakers will be paid expenses and offered training and the opportunity to experience a wide range of cultural activity.

People living, working or taking part in a community activity in Manningham, Bradford Moor, Tong, City, Keighley West or Keighley Central can find out more about THE LEAP or about becoming a changemaker by contacting Born in Bradford  by email or by phone 01274 364474

For further information visit:



Twitter: @theleapBD

Facebook: /TheLeapBradford


Creative People and Places

Arts Council England is investing £17.5 million of National Lottery funds in Creative People and Places projects across England. These projects will create arts experiences for, by and with local communities where people tend to engage less with arts and culture.

A total of 12 projects are receiving funding, nine of which are based in locations brand new to the Creative People and Places network.

Three million people have taken part in Creative People and Places projects across 21 different locations since 2012. These projects have already worked with over 800 local partners to put creativity at the heart of the community, including a haulage firm and housing association.

In recognition of the incredibly strong applications received for Creative People and Places in this round, Arts Council England agreed to allocate an additional £5 million to the budget from our National Lottery contingency, helping more people in more places benefit from this programme.

THE LEAP Consortium members are:

Born in Bradford, Dr Sally Barber

BiB is one of the largest birth cohort research studies in the world, tracking the lives of over 30,000 Bradfordians to find out what influences the health and wellbeing of families. We use our findings to develop new and practical ways to work with families and health professionals to improve the health and wellbeing of our communities.

The Born in Bradford project is hosted by the Bradford Institute of Health Research which is located at the Bradford Royal Infirmary, part of Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Creative People and Places (CPP) is a particularly strong strategic fit with our activities. We work in partnerships to improve life chances of Bradfordians and to understand and share the impact of different interventions. This includes being the Innovation and Evaluation Hub for Better Start Bradford a £50m BIG Lottery initiative to improve health and wellbeing for pregnant women and 0-to-3-years-olds.

BiB is also trusted as the lead organisation with £9m of Sport England funds to be a Local Delivery Pilot for national action research in health and physical activity and is appointing the delivery team for that work currently.

Bradford Eid Festival, Habib Khan and Mohammed Atique

Bradford Eid Festival started in Bradford Moor by young local community leaders and businessmen to fill a gap in celebration of one of the populations’ key annual moments. Its organisers have grown Eid to attract 36,000 visitors whilst still being a volunteer-led event.

On a personal level, Habib Khan brings significant relevant skills and experience to the Consortium through work in community development in Leeds and as corporate fundraiser for Islamic Relief. Mohammed Atique, the chair of the Festival, is a designer and entrepreneurial businessman, representative of the future of the city.

Mind the Gap, Julia Skelton

Mind the Gap is one of Europe’s leading learning disability theatre companies rooted in Manningham Bradford and working in partnership with learning-disabled artists to deliver a bold, cutting-edge and world-class artistic programme that impacts locally, nationally and internationally.

By ‘theatre’ they don’t just mean shows that you can see in arts and theatre venues, but also performances and events in different spaces and places. To advance its vision to create equal opportunities and meaningful work opportunities for learning disabled artists, the company supports individual artists to develop their own ideas and projects.

Keighley Association for Women and Children Centre, Naz Kazmi

Established 34 years ago in response to high levels of social isolation amongst Asian women, KAWACC is a needs-driven organisation which advocates with and for vulnerable and disadvantaged women and young people. It plays an important anchor role in providing a place to meet and hold social, cultural and educational activities for all ages, and enable the creation of social capital.

Run by women and young people and with an active volunteer team, its users mainly come from the town’s urban core, many are of Pakistani and Bangladeshi backgrounds, but this is now diversifying with Eastern and Central European and African migration.

Royds Community Association, Tony Dylak

Royds is a charity formed in 1994 to help revitalise the villages of Buttershaw, Woodside and Delph Hill in South West Bradford, securing £31m SRB funding. The local community were vital in making the plans, which saw hundreds of houses built and renovated.

Royds has also helped thousands of people to get into training, find jobs and live healthier lives.  The project is a nationally recognised example of how community regeneration can be delivered successfully and sustainably. Tony Dylak, its CEO, is a professional musician and from Polish/ Irish refugee family descent and was responsible for one of Bradford’s first ever multi-cultural art festivals in the 1980s.