VENUES across the district, from a community centre in Thorpe Edge to the birthplace of the Bronte Sisters, will get a share of £3 million to create a series of cultural venues in time for 2025.

Grants of between £4,900 and £315,000 will be handed out to 21 organisations in the Bradford district as part of preparations for the City of Culture year.

Some will see venues create new theatre or gallery space, while others will boost existing spaces making them more accessible to prepare for an influx of visitors.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Bradford will be City of Culture in 2025Bradford will be City of Culture in 2025 (Image: Bradford 2025)

With venues from Bradford city centre to Ilkley and Silsden receiving cash, one of the bosses of the City of Culture trust said the grants show that 2025 will involve the whole district.

Groups were invited to bid for a share of the City of Culture £3m Cultural Capital Fund earlier this year.

By the time the application period was closed, over 80 groups had made bids to improve their spaces and venues – with the total ask coming to over £15m.

The successful bidders have now been announced, and include Bradford’s legendary 1 in 12 Club, the Bronte Parsonage and Bingley Theatre.

The panel that decided on the successful bids included representatives from the 2025 Trust, Bradford Council and the Arts Council.

Some of the projects that have been awarded grants include The Greensville Trust, which will be awarded £300,000 to create a new permanent gallery at the Mustafa Mount Art & Culture Centre, based at the former University of Bradford Management Centre in Heaton.

The African Caribbean Achievement Project, will be awarded £280,000, with the money helping to renovate and transform the group’s existing community centre on Claremont into an Arts and Culture Centre. The Centre will offer space for activities and events in music, dance, visual and digital arts, drama, and storytelling.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The headquarters of the African Caribbean Achievement Project, which will undergo a major upgrade to become a new cultural venue in time for 2025The headquarters of the African Caribbean Achievement Project, which will undergo a major upgrade to become a new cultural venue in time for 2025 (Image: google)

The group hopes it will serve as a testament to Bradford’s shared heritage, instilling a sense of pride and fostering a deeper understanding of cultural diversity in the arts.

Bloomin’ Buds, which aims to give the working class a greater voice on the stage, will get £50,000 that will allow the group to professionally kit out the performance space at The Rockwell Centre in Thorpe Edge, transforming the existing venue to provide a quality arts venue experience for the local area. The funds will be invested in fixed lighting rigs, moveable raked seating, sound systems, blackout screens and other technical equipment.

Mind The Gap, a learning disability performance group, will get £10,000. The group will use the grant to upgrade its Manningham base in Lister Mills to “enable it to be better equipped for public-facing events in response to the demand for greater studio space within the district.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Lister Mills, the home of Mind The GapLister Mills, the home of Mind The Gap (Image: Bradford Council)

The cash will help develop an upgraded lighting desk, purpose-built box office unit, the installation of a new Hearing Loop system, new external signage, and the installation of a tannoy system for public announcements.

Ilkley Playhouse will get £10,000 to modernise its main passenger lift which provides access to the venue from street level to the Box Office and main Wharfeside Theatre.

The other organisations to be awarded funding have been announced, although the full amounts of those grants and details of the projects they will fund have not yet been.

The other organisations are

  • All Star Entertainment, Bradford
  • Bingley Arts Centre
  • Bradford Stories
  • Brontë Birthplace Limited, Thornton – a group set up to open up the Bronte Sisters’ first home to the public
  • Brontë Parsonage Museum, Haworth
  • Connecting Roma, Bradford
  • Displace Yourself Theatre, Shipley
  • East Street Arts – Keighley
  • Creative Fayakunu, a cultural art studio in Bradford
  • Hive Arts, Shipley
  • Lidget Green Healthy Living Centre
  • The Peace Museum, which is planning to move into Salts Mill in Saltaire in time for 2025
  • Salt Foundation Victoria Hall, Saltaire
  • Silsden Town Hall
  • St Clements Church, Bradford
  • The 1 in 12 Club in Bradford city centre.

Dan Bates, Executive Director at Bradford 2025, said “The Cultural Capital Fund is a great example of our ambition to increase investment in the cultural infrastructure within the Bradford district, giving residents and visitors alike greater opportunity to experience the arts, culture and creativity during 2025 and beyond.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Dan BatesDan Bates (Image: Tim Smith)

“There was an overwhelming response to the grant fund, with applications far exceeding the funding available, highlighting how determined venues are to improve their facilities ahead of Bradford 2025.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the projects begin in the coming months, demonstrating a key milestone in our preparations for Bradford’s year as UK City of Culture.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Members of the African Caribbean Achievement Project Members of the African Caribbean Achievement Project (Image: newsquest)

Referring to the high number of bids, he added: “There was a real amazing demand out there. We took the decision to fund as many groups as we could, on different scales.

“We really wanted to make sure we were supporting groups across all communities of Bradford. We said City of Culture would be across the Bradford district, and this is an example of that.

“We wanted groups to be able to make their venues more accessible and really enhance that visitor experience.”

He hopes the groups that were not successful will be able to find funding elsewhere, adding: “There is so much interest in Bradford now, we’ll be pointing other groups in the right direction to get funding.