WE want your ideas for making Bradford’s City of Culture bid a winner. That’s the message from a new team which is holding districtwide consultations this autumn to gather ideas for the 2025 bid.

The Voluntary Engagement and Inclusion Team is calling for people of every age, ability, faith, race and sexual orientation in all corners of the district to share ideas and play a pivotal role in the competition.

Led by Cllr Richard Dunbar, Bradford Council’s LGBTQ+ Champion, who has a professional background in youth and community work, the team comprises 24 people from the district. They include Cllr Imran Khan, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Education, Employment and Skills, Cain Lewis, trustee at Healthy Life Cycles and part of the council’s Stronger Communities Together Strategy collective and Penny Wangari-Jones, anti-racist activist and Director at the Racial Justice Network. The youngest member is 15-year-old student Zahabia Naveed, a Youth Service ambassador in Bradford East.

The team is taking on the task of rallying the whole district behind the bid, which will be submitted in 2021, ensuring that local people are at the heart of the process and their ideas are the driving force. A series of consultations will develop themes and ideas which are reflective of the district.

Cllr Dunbar, said: “Initially we thought the team would be 10 to 15 people, but when these 24 passionate, dedicated Bradfordians with a wealth of knowledge and an adoration for the city they call home came forward, we couldn’t possibly turn any away. We’ve already had some exciting ideas from our initial meetings but the team is eager to get out there and hear from different generations about what is important to them and how we should showcase the best of Bradford to the world. Bradford’s people are what makes this city such a distinctive, exciting place to be, and the support and input of local people is what will make this bid a serious contender.”

Cain Lewis said: “Bradford has really come into its own in recent years and is brimming with potential. We’re a young, diverse city and this is an important opportunity to learn from young people and ensure every voice shines through, paving the way for the next generation to make Bradford the city they want it to be.”

Zahabia Naveed said: “Bradford is the youngest city in Europe, so it’s really important that young people like myself are represented in the bid. Together, the different ages and communities can bring something to the bid that no other city will be able to offer.”

Penny Wangari-Jones said: “I have worked in different areas of the country but, more than anywhere, I love the diversity of Bradford. Although I grew up in Kenya, I feel a huge connection to the people here thanks to its cultural vibrancy. This is an important opportunity for us to shine a light on the marginalised and seldom heard voices from across the city and ensure that they are fully represented in the bid. There will still be many people around the city for whom culture is not at the top of the agenda and who don’t know this competition is happening, and their voices and opinions are equally as valuable as those in top leadership positions.”

* To find out more call (01274) 800551 or email info@bradford2025.co.uk