Bradford is to share up to £400,000 from the Government and Arts Council England to get people from all backgrounds involved in arts projects.

The news was welcomed by Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, whose portfolio includes culture. She said: “I’m delighted Bradford has been chosen as one of only five places in England to qualify for this funding.

“It’s a credit to the great arts organisations in Bradford that we’ve been specially selected in this way.

“We’d like to use the money to bring d communities together from across Bradford to create great art which would be shown in the city centre.

“We have to submit a proposal before we get the funding but it’s definitely good news. It’s an opportunity to show what we can do if somebody invests in us.”

Bradford, Burnley, Birmingham, Thurrock in Essex and Bristol were chosen for the windfall because they have a strong track record in local arts projects.

Bradford’s share could be in the region of £80,000 consisting of £40,000 Arts Council’s National Lottery grant plus the same again from the Communities and Local Government department if projects are accepted.

Funding runs for one year, although exceptional projects showing good results, however they are judged, could get a further year’s money.

Communities Minister Don Foster said: “Local arts events are a brilliant way of bringing people from all different backgrounds together and I expect great and creative things from Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Burnley and Thurrock.

“Whatever they choose to put on locally – whether it’s organising events, opening up new spaces to show off art works or putting on classes and talks – I know they will get local people involved.”

Alan Davey, chief executive, Arts Council England, said: “Now more than ever, there is a strong need to support grass-roots arts initiatives and projects that will bring our communities closer together.

“England is constantly growing, changing and evolving.”