Bradford Awarded £2M by Arts Council England to Celebrate the Creativity of its People

Bradford has won major new investment from Arts Council England to become one of its new Creative People and Places locations.

The Mind the Gap team stand in front of a fountain in Bradford city centre

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. The 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

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