CULTURE will make a "significant contribution" to Bradford's recovery from the pandemic - according to a new 10 year plan for the District.

At a meeting of Bradford Council's Executive this morning members are expected to approve a new cultural strategy for the district.

It will launch later this month and last until 2031, with the hope that half way through the strategy Bradford is named City of Culture.

Among suggestions in the strategy are a "new calendar of festivals and events," the re-use of heritage buildings and efforts to make art and culture more accessible to groups that rarely access what is currently on offer.

And the plan suggests a successful cultural strategy could help "level up" the District.

Arguably the main aim of the strategy is to help Bradford succeed in its efforts to become City of Culture for 2025 - a title that could provide a huge boost to Bradford as the cultural sector recovers after the pandemic.

A report to the Executive says the strategy will prove Bradford is "open for business."

Members will hear that despite being one of the most populous cities in the UK, Bradford has received a relatively low amount of funding for arts and culture.

Bradford City of Culture bid highlights district heritage

Despite the city being designated a UNESCO City of Film designation, and the presence of the National Science and Media Museum in the city centre, British Film Institute investment into Bradford district remains low.

The BFI had allocated £1.2m to Bradford since 2012.

This compares to £4.6m to Newcastle and Gateshead and £15.3m to Sheffield.

A report to the Executive says: "The District’s existing cultural provision remains lower than its peer authorities and the provision we do have is also not evenly distributed across our communities."

In 2019 it was announced that Bradford Council would support the City of Culture bid with £1.4m funding.

The decision proved controversial at the time, when the Council was planning cuts to its libraries and museums service.

But the report to Executive defends the decision to spend this money, saying it has already attracted investment in Bradford.

It says: "A £1,435,000 investment by Bradford Council in cultural activities as part of the strategy has already attracted £3,560,000 in outside funding from such organisations as Arts Council England."

One of the investments the report says the money helped attract was The LEAP, a £2 million Arts Council England programme for the district which over 10 years will focus on the "celebrating and growing cultural activity" in the 12 most deprived ward areas of the District: Bradford Moor, Bowling and Barkerend, City, Eccleshill, Great Horton, Keighley Central, Keighley West, Little Horton, Manningham, Royds, Toller and Tong.

The report says: "Culture will make a significant and sustainable contribution to the future prosperity of our District as we strive to level up.

"Culture will also make a significant contribution to our recovery from Covid 19 and to the growth of a cleaner future economy as one of four pillars of the district’s new Economic Recovery Plan."

Before the pandemic, the cultural sector was the fastest growing sector of the UK economy, but the closure of theatres, galleries, cinemas and similar venues means an uncertain future for many in the sector.

The Executive meets online at 10.30am tomorrow.