PEOPLE and organisations from across the city came together yesterday to mark the official launch of Bradford Refugee Week.

A special event was held in the city centre as part of efforts to celebrate Bradford’s diversity and its role as a city that welcomes refugees.

The celebrations began in City Park as children from a number of local schools joined in song with the Bradford Friendship Choir after a colourful parade which was led by a specially designed taxi bike.

Lord Mayor, Councillor Doreen Lee, formally launched the week of celebrations at the event yesterday.

Deb Collett, co-ordinator at Artworks Creative Communities, said Bradford had a proud tradition of welcoming people from across the globe, particularly those who have fled from their home countries as a result of persecution.

She added: “This year we really wanted to really let Bradford know that Refugee Week has started. So our launch is the culmination of a project with young unaccompanied asylum seekers, who created the fantastic bike leading the parade.”

She added: “Celebrations during Refugee Week arise from a coming together of refugees and their supporters.”

Running from June 15 to 22, Refugee Week is marked nationally. In Bradford the programme includes exhibitions, film screenings, picnics, open mic nights, training workshops and parties taking place to reflect the contribution refugees make to our city.

A series of events will take place throughout the week in libraries, schools and community centres and include the UK premier screening of a new film, Gaza, on Saturday, June 22.

Refugee Week will culminate at the Get Together, a community festival in Peel Park, from noon to 2pm on Saturday, with art, music, sport and food for the whole family.

Organisers believe that Bradford has been enriched by migration over centuries, adding that in 2019 people have sought safety in the city from many different countries. They added how pleased they were that some of their experiences will form part of the Refugee Week programme this year – with opportunities to discover more about the conflicts and difficulties that led them to leave their home country.

Highlights include a showing of Beats of the Antonov, hosted by the Sudanese Community in Bradford at Delius Arts and Cultural Centre. This documentary explores how the Sudanese people are using traditional musical forms in response to the repeated bombing of Darfur.

Other films to be shown during the week-long programme include Gaza, The Dream of Shahrazad, Female Voice, The Visitor and Grow Your Own.

There are also daily screenings on City Park’s big screen of locally made films about Bradford refugee projects, at 11am from today until Saturday.

Ms Collett added that a number of local groups were involved in the launch, and the School of Sanctuary awards were also handed out to those schools that had been working to achieve them.

It comes as Bradford was recently named the third most welcoming city in the UK after resettling a total of 473 Syrian refugees in just over three years. Since the flagship government scheme launched in September 2015, a total of 15,977 refugees have been resettled in the UK.

The full Refugee Week programme is available online at