A RE-DESIGN of Bradford’s museum service could help attract millions in national funding.

Bradford’s Museum and Gallery Service was due to face a £500,000 budget cut from April, which was likely to have a major impact on how the four Council run facilities are run.

The move proved hugely controversial, especially as Bradford will also be pushing to be named City of Culture 2025.

But shortly before Christmas it was announced that this cut would be postponed a year, giving the service a year to review its offer.

At a recent meeting of Bradford Council’s Regeneration and Environment Scrutiny Committee earlier this month, members were given an update on what will be done in the next 12 months to secure the service’s future.

Bradford Council runs four museums and galleries - Cartwright Hall in Lister Park, Bolling Hall in Bowling, Cliffe Castle in Keighley and Bradford Industrial Museum in Eccleshill.

Bradford Council's art collection is worth £42 million - but only 10 per cent of it is on display

At the meeting, Rosie Crook, Interim Museums and Galleries Manager, told members that the aim was for the museums to gain Arts Council funding - which would massively boost the service.

Currently the Arts Council funds Leeds museums to the tune of £1.5 million, York museums get £1.2 million and Wakefield’s museums get £200,000 funding.

Bradford’s museum service currently gets nothing from the Arts Council.

Mrs Crook said that in order to gain funding, the Council would need to prove it ran a service that better reflected the Bradford community.

She said: “We need a clear vision for the service that links it to the community it serves. We have to look at the services we offer, and income raising services that could be introduced.”

She said the Council was soon to start putting the “building blocks” together that would allow the museum service to apply for Arts Council “national portfolio” status. She added: “We need to develop a collection that tells stories showcasing Bradford’s arts and cultural heritage.”

Members were told that in many areas Bradford was already at the leading edge of how museums should be operated. Over 7,500 children from local schools have visited in recent months.

The committee was told: “We are already delivering forward focused activities, we need to consolidate that approach into a core vision.”

Councillor David Heseltine (Cons, Bingley) said: “You’re saying Bradford does these things really well. We need to be telling more people. We always hear how Bradford is doing great, but we need to tell people we are. Why aren’t we doing this already?”

Mrs Crook said it was important to make museums relatable to more people: “People won’t go into museums if they don’t want to. We need people to enjoy it.”

More could be made of the museum service’s existing collections, the meeting was told. Recent figures show that just 10 per cent of the collection is currently available for the public to see.

The Council hopes to be able to bid for Arts Council funding by next year.