A MULTI million pound project to get more young people in Bradford active will finally get started this summer - over 18 months after it was first announced.

It was back in December 2017 when it was announced Bradford would be getting millions of pounds of lottery funding to increase physical activity levels in children in the North of the city.

Since then there has been little visible progress on the Sports England scheme - despite £3 million having been allocated to the city.

But at a meeting of Bradford Council’s Bradford West Area Committee on Wednesday evening, members were told that the project was finally ready to begin - with events planned in the coming weeks.

And it could lead to investments in three “under used” park areas in the city - Peel Park, Scotchman Road playing fields and Pity Beck in Allerton.

Major boost for sports in North of Bradford

It comes after research found that 77 per cent of five to 11 year olds in Bradford didn’t get the recommended 60 minutes of exercise a day they need.

Last year over 1,000 children and families were consulted on the plans, and asked what would get them more physically active.

Work will start this summer with a number of activities in different parks, including a festival in Peel Park on June 29.

Councillor Bev Mullaney (Lab, Thornton and Allerton) said: “I remembers attending a meeting 18 months ago when we were allocated this money. We’ve seen nothing since.

“How much of this money has been spent on research?”

Jan Burkhardt, Programme Director for the scheme, said: “Sport England has been slow to get the money out - we still haven’t had it yet.

“It has been a slow start, but things are starting now.”

She said none of the three million had been spent yet, and that if the project proves successful then Bradford could attract an additional £5 million fund.

Members were told the project could include improvements to local parks and green spaces and active travel plans.

Groups will also be able to apply for funding of up to £5,000 to “explore new ideas” to get people more active.

It will also look at how children can better incorporate physical activity into their day - an issue particularly pertinent in some of the city’s Muslim communities, where many children go straight from school to madrassah.

Councillor Kamran Hussain (Lab, Toller) said: “This is much needed money, especially in these financially difficult times.

“We just don’t want to come back here in a year’s time and nothing has happened.”

Mrs Burkhardt apologised for the delay, but assured members they would see more action this summer.

Some councillors questioned why nothing seemed to be planned for Lister Park, which they said was in need of investment. Chair Mohammed Amran told members “There are things happening at the Council involving Lister Park that will be made public shortly.”