Bradford has made the shortlist for a funding boost of up to £50 million to help the district’s poorest babies and toddlers.
It is among 15 authorities being considered for the Lottery cash, which is designed to improve the quality of life of children aged under three.
Between three and five local authorities from the shortlist will be selected to receive a share of £150 million over a decade. The money would be paid out from June, and if it is awarded to Bradford, the Council would be expected to contribute £180,000 to the pot.
In total, 167 districts applied for the funding from the Big Lottery Fund ‘Fulfilling Lives: A Better Start’, but only 15 have made it through to the second stage.
The Bradford bid is being led by social enterprise Bradford Trident and supported by Bradford Council among others. If the bid is successful, the money would be spent in Bowling and Barkerend, Bradford Moor and Little Horton, which would be designated as a ‘Better Start Bradford’ area.
These areas were chosen because of their high deprivation, which harms the prospects of the children there.
If the cash comes to Bradford, it would be used to develop innovative ways of helping hundreds of struggling parents give their tots the best start in life.
It would focus on boosting nutrition, communication and language skills and social and emotional development.
And by teaming up with the Born In Bradford project, it is hoped any scheme in Bradford would become a national leader in services for newborns. Councillor Ralph Berry, executive member for children’s services, said: “This fund has potential to really turn around the lives of babies and young children as well as giving the community a more active role in deciding what services they need. I hope we are successful in our bid."
Bradford Trident was given £347,000 to develop its bid last year. Members of the bidding development team include the Council’s children’s services department, public health, the NHS, the police, Born in Bradford, social housing provider Incommunities, voluntary organisations and the local communities themselves.
The bids have to be handed in to Big Lottery by Friday, February 28.
The bid will be discussed at the next meeting of Bradford Council’s executive, on Tuesday at City Hall.