HIGH profile Bradfordians, including superstar illusionist Dynamo, are backing our bid to be UK City of Culture, as the Government green lights the 2025 competition.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has kicked off bidding for the title - and the competition to host the year-long event has begun. Responding to the Government's announcement, leading figures in entertainment and sport have thrown their weight behind the bid.

Bradford-born megastar magician Dynamo said: “Bradford is where my heart is and has always been a hidden gem; a place filled with magic and wonderful people. That’s why I’m so proud to back this bid for Bradford to become the UK’s next City of Culture in 2025. Having seen firsthand the hard work, passion and commitment of the local community, I really believe this is our time.”


Bradford cricketer Adil Rashid, who was made a Freeman of the City last year for his role in England’s cricket World Cup triumph, said: “When people come together to play sport, or watch it, that shared experience stays with you. It’s the same with cultural events. I’m 100per cent behind the team, proud to put my name to Bradford’s bid.”

Bradford-born creative director of global fashion brand Bottega Veneta, Daniel Lee, said he’s “immensely proud to stand by Bradford” on its bidding journey. He added: “Bradford shaped who I am, it is a city full of creative talent, and unifying cultural experiences.”

Madani Younis who forged his theatre career in Bradford and is now chief executive producer of The Shed, New York said: “The confidence that Bradford gave me is why I stay true to that city. It is the best of who we are as a country and that is not said enough. That Bradford will bid to become a City of Culture to me is no surprise. It’s about time.”

The Bradford 2025 team has welcomed today’s DCMS announcement and is working with partners districtwide on the bid, which will be managed by Bradford Culture Company in partnership with Bradford Council and the University of Bradford.

Bradford Council leader Susan Hinchcliffe said: “Our district is young, diverse, entrepreneurial and we want to play our full part in the life of the nation: the UK City of Culture title provides a platform to do this. Now, more than ever, as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic and look to build for the future, investing in our cultural fabric is essential. There can be no regeneration without culture. Our bid will form a major part of the Council’s future planning and will have a major role in bringing together our communities, lifting spirits, and providing a boost to our economy.”

Bradford 2025 chair Shanaz Gulzar said: “Bradford’s time is now. With confirmation today from Government that the next UK City of Culture competition has started, we have a unique opportunity to promote the distinctive qualities of this district to national audiences and claim the title for Bradford. Bradford is ambitious in its thinking and hungry for success. We have the most youthful population of all cities competing for the title; we have world-class cultural organisations, a distinguished cultural history, passionate audiences and an extraordinary and progressive community of diverse artists, performers, writers and creative entrepreneurs with outstanding credentials who will help secure the designation for Bradford.”

The DCMS said the winning city will need a “strong and unique vision for future growth”. Mr Dowden said: “From Derry-Londonderry, to Hull and Coventry, previous winners have shown how the competition can deliver greater cultural participation, drive economic regeneration and boost local pride."

Coventry, which holds the title for 2021, is expected to benefit from a boost in visitor numbers and more than £110 million in additional investment secured between 2018 and 2022. The programme aims to attract around 5,000 volunteers and create more than 900 jobs.