Celebrating the district’s passionate people and amazing volunteers

You won’t be surprised to hear that researchers have found that the people of Bradford are more likely to give to charity than anywhere else in Yorkshire. The Cabinet Office Place Survey found that volunteers in Bradford are more likely to volunteer than those from anywhere else in Yorkshire. What’s more we are the fourth most generous city in Britain and the sixth kindest!

Volunteering

The district’s volunteers do some amazing things that you might not know about:

The Bradford Police Museum at City Hall is run entirely by volunteers. If you’d like to volunteer in one of our museums, you can contact Janet Bruce on janet.bruce@bradford.gov.uk

A team of committed volunteers provide dedicated support for male victims of domestic abuse in Bradford, one of very few in the UK.

Local people volunteer through the British Red Cross, with some on standby to drive a camper-van to homes which have been affected by fire. As well as providing emergency accommodation the volunteers also provide a welcome cup of tea and place of safety for families who may have lost everything. If you’d like to get involved you can visit the Red Cross emergency volunteering site.

Our community campaign ‘People Can Make a Difference‘ is actively promoting all the good things that people are already doing in their communities as well as encouraging more people to volunteer and get involved in community life.

Foster Park community clean-up

A community clean-up took place in Denholme village centre. People came together on 29th September in Foster Park to take part in a litter-pick.

The clean-up was led by Denholme Town Council. Staff from Bradford Council’s Neighbourhood Service helped out, with the Council Warden for Bingley Rural joining in and giving gloves and litter-pickers to the volunteers, with the Clean Team taking away the rubbish afterwards. Children from the village primary school also joined in on the day.

denholme-cleanup
Children at a community clean-up in Denholme village

The clean-up supported two recent initiatives in the village – Bradford Council has recently installed two dog-bag dispensers, purchased by Denholme Town Council, and the formation of a Friends of Foster Park group is being considered. Continue reading Celebrating the district’s passionate people and amazing volunteers

School children at the Love Bradford World Record Attempt

Chief Executive’s blog – October 2016

Our chief executive Kersten England has been writing a regular blog for staff. We thought you might like to read it too, so here is Kersten’s October blog.

This month’s blog takes a closer look at the workings of a Full Council meeting, celebrates some inspiring successes and shares a few things on the agenda for the coming weeks.

Full Council meeting, 18 October

Last week’s Full Council, on Tuesday, 18 October, was hectic! There was a huge breadth of topics covered and thoughtful debates about much of our work and what matters to people in the district.

There were petitions from residents about speeding cars in busy neighbourhoods, the proposed closure of a library and the introduction of parking charges at the St Ives estate. Councillors asked executive members questions about mental health services, parent governorship, care services, flooding, alternate week bin collections, and high speed rail services – to name but a few of the topics covered.

Motions were debated about unaccompanied asylum seeking children, smoking cessation, safer driving, proposed changes to parliamentary constituency boundaries and education priorities.

Bradford Council plan front pageCouncil also approved its priorities for the next four years, as described in the Bradford Council Plan. This is a must read! This plan will be the starting point for individual staff work plans, service delivery plans and crucially for development of our budget proposals for the next four years. The plan will direct our work.

The final item of the night saw Council approve the implementation of the changes to senior management. An elected member panel will be set up to appoint to the posts of Strategic Director – Corporate Services and Strategic Director – Place. Officer panels will be set up to appoint to the Assistant Director (AD) posts. I want to reiterate my appreciation for the sustained commitment and professionalism of staff who are directly affected by the changes we are making.

There’s been some great news since my last blog

Bingley Music Live scooped an award at the Yorkshire Gig Guide Grassroots Awards for outstanding established music festival. Congratulations team BML!

On Thursday, 15 September thousands of people, young and old, from across all the communities and organisations of the district stood in the sweltering late summer sun – and smashed the world record for the longest continuous chain of people making a heart shaped hand gesture (picture above). We are world record holders and that’s official!

The inspiration of participants on our future leaders programme, and billed as #LoveBradford, it was moving to hear the whole crowd chanting ‘we love Bradford’. For the thousand young people who took part and received a world record medal I hope it will become an ‘I was there’ moment. Our future leaders did a cracking job and learnt a huge amount about project management. Result!

The next day Bradford trended once more on social media – this time in support of our bid to host the Great Exhibition of the North. Each Friday the government department of culture media and sport (DCMS) threw the spotlight on one of the bidders to host the exhibition. The range and diversity of voices from within and outside Bradford speaking of their love of and support of Bradford was fantastic and humbling. We know we topped the popular poll! Of course we now know that Newcastle-Gateshead will be the host for the main events of the exhibition. We wish them well. We will take the energy, creativity and confidence of our bid and people’s support for it to deliver a great programme of events in Bradford in 2018.

We have just heard the fantastic news that in April 2017 Bradford will be one of the key hosts for the Tour de Yorkshire. It’s very exciting to know that we will be either a start or finish city for this prestigious three-day cycle race. The full route will be announced in December. After the warm welcome our district gave to the Tour de France Grand Depart in 2014, and the superb backdrop our Cow and Calf Rocks provided for the 2015 Tour de Yorkshire, 2017 looks set to be another vintage year for cycling in the Bradford District. I can’t wait! Continue reading Chief Executive’s blog – October 2016

Canvassers are visiting some homes to check registered voter details

We have currently got canvassers knocking on doors across the district to confirm the details of people on the electoral register. Our canvassers are out until 7 November working during the daytime, in the evening and at weekends until 8pm.

If you get a visit from one of our canvassers, to confirm the details of who is living in the property, they may ask for your date of birth and National Insurance number. This is the only information they need. This is to confirm your identity and ensure that your details are correct on the electoral register.

You will receive a visit from one of our canvassers if you have not responded to one of the following forms sent in the post:

  • Household enquiry form
  • Invitation to register form

If you have not responded to the forms you received, legally, we have to visit your address to confirm voter details. If you have responded to the forms you received, you should not receive a visit from one of our canvassers.

If you still have the form, but haven’t responded to it yet, please respond to it as soon as possible and we may not need to visit your property. It is quicker and cheaper for you to respond online or by phone rather than us visiting your home.

If anybody in your house needs to register to vote, the quickest and easiest way to do so is on the GOV.UK website.

The video below has more information about why our canvassers are visiting homes and why it is important for you to respond accurately.

Back to school: new hopes, new fears

Is your child going to a new school next year?

The deadline for applying for a place for your child at secondary school is Monday, 31 October 2016 which is fast approaching!

If your child was born between 1 September 2012 and 31 August 2013, you will need to apply for a Primary School from Monday, 14 November 2016 up to the closing date of Sunday, 15 January 2017 for the school year that starts in September 2017.

Read this blog to find out how to apply and read one parent’s experience of their child starting school.

Fiona Binns, from the Council’s Education Communications Team and Editor of Bradford Parents on the Go Blog, talks about her experience of children starting school and how life-changing moving from primary to secondary school can be!  Her eldest son, Joshua is eight and has started his journey in Year 4 this term and her youngest son, Finley is five and moves into Year 1.

Starting primary school is one of the most exciting milestones in a child’s young life; but on the other hand it can also be an anxious time too.

In the summer before Finley started Reception I’d be hearing the same question on a daily basis “Mummy, when do I start big school?”

Preparation and organisation is key and I recall highlighting many paragraphs in the school’s prospectus and making endless lists of what we needed in order to be ready for Day One.

In reality I was more anxious than Finley was!

Maybe it’s the fact that we, as mummies, or daddies or carers, have done everything in our power to protect our babies since they were born.  Like when they fall over we are there to pick them up, give them a cuddle and try to make them feel better, we have always done everything for them and then the time comes for that role to be given to teachers and teaching assistants.

As a family we prepared both our boys for ‘big school’ by talking to them about the start of school, making new friends and entering the world of education and learning about something wonderful every single day.  We made a big deal about buying their  school uniforms, new shoes and deciding whether or not they would be staying for school dinners or taking a packed lunch.

I need not have worried; Finley embraced his first year at school as a ‘Roaring Rocket’ (the name of his class!).  His class teacher and teaching assistants at school played a very important part in this and I know Finley will always remember his first year at “big school”.

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Me and the boys

Transition time

The transition from primary school to secondary school is one of those life events that most people can recall in some way or other. In the main, it’s a fairly manageable period and one that parents often get more emotional about than their children. Continue reading Back to school: new hopes, new fears

Bradford City Runs 2016

Bradford City Runs on Sunday, 30 October is Bradford’s annual festival of running with a unique choice of three distances: 5K, 10K and Half Marathon along with a special Kids’ Mile Run, all races are held on closed, traffic-free roads in and around City Park and the city centre.

With a new and improved route for 2016, the races now take in parts of Little Germany and the Broadway Shopping Centre, as well as the University of Bradford, Bradford College, City Hall and City Park.

Bradford City Runs 2016 adult course map

Bradford City Runs will once again raise money for the Plastic Surgery and Burns Research Unit, based at the University of Bradford. The unit was set up after the tragic Bradford City fire disaster 31 years ago and continues to explore ground-breaking treatment techniques for burns sufferers. In 2015, Bradford City Runs raised £6,000 for the unit and we are aiming to top that in 2016! Download a printable PSBRU sponsorship form to start getting sponsors.

Hundreds of people including many children and young people have already signed up to take part in this year’s Bradford City Runs, which is designed to welcome everyone from the Bradford district and beyond, no matter how fit or how fast!

We welcome runners of all levels, including those in fancy dress, to walk, run, support and celebrate a great community event. A fun filled family day with entertainment and prizes:

  • College and University route
  • Prizes in all main categories
  • Medals for all Kids Race finishers
  • Medals & T-Shirts for Adult Race finishers
  • Accurately measured course
  • Chip timing for all races
  • Expert marshalling
  • Children’s Play Zone & Spectator area

Those who have put their names down so far include the Deputy Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Alun Griffiths (who was the very first runner to sign up this year!), the former Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Joanne Dodds, the Chief Executive of Bradford Council, Kersten England and former Bradford City player and co-founder of the charity One In A Million, Wayne Jacobs. Continue reading Bradford City Runs 2016

Show your support for Bradford on Friday, 16 September

This Friday, 16 September, help to celebrate Bradford on social media and the result could be a major cultural event based here in 2018.

Bradford is one of four places shortlisted to host the Great Exhibition of the North in 2018. The event will showcase creativity, culture and design from across the whole of the North.

The government has arranged four days to focus on each of the four shortlisted locations. Friday, 16 September is the focus day for Bradford, with social media being used to celebrate why Bradford should host the event.

How to get involved

On Friday, 16 September, you can help Bradford’s bid by using Twitter or Instagram. Share what you love about Bradford’s arts, culture and design. Use the hashtag #GreatNorthExpo2018.

You might have a favourite place in Bradford, or you might have photos or videos from a local event you have been too. Post your photos or videos to Twitter or Instagram, including the #GreatNorthExpo2018 hashtag to show your support for Bradford’s bid.

We also have a hashtag specific for Bradford’s bid to host the exhibition, which is #BradfordGXn. If you can fit both hashtags into your tweets or Instagram posts, that would be even better.

Over to you, and let’s help bring the Great Exhibition of the North to Bradford!

We are ready to switch off our old website

In April we switched on our new website and in mid-September we will switch off our old website.

Since January we have moved over 2,000 pages from the old website to the new website. Before we started, we carried out a content audit to make sure that nothing important has been missed.

We are happy that all critical content has now been moved, so it is time to say goodbye to the old website.

What does this mean for you?

If you are already using our new website then you do not need to do anything different.

If you are still using our old website, then why not try the new one?

This is what the old website looks like:

Old website screenshot
Old Bradford Council website

And this is the new one:

New website screenshot
New Bradford Council website

If you are not sure which website you have been using, there is also a clue in the website address. If the address begins with legacy.bradford.gov.uk or www.bradford.gov.uk/bmdc
then you are still on our old website.

Linking to http://www.bradford.gov.uk

If you use links to the old website, after mid-September the links may not work. You will need to start using new links. The easiest way to find the correct new link for a page is to use the website search on our new website.

If you can’t find what you’re looking for on our new website, please use the ‘Rate this page’ form which you will find on almost every page of our website. Continue reading We are ready to switch off our old website

Enterprising Bradford

Did you know that Bradford has a £9.2 billion economy, the eighth largest in England?

As the district’s top business leaders and companies were recognised at the Bradford Means Business awards in June, and in July Bradford was named one of the top 10 places to work in the UK, we thought we’d seize the moment and share some evidence to show that Bradford really is on the up. But how has this come about and what do the key statistics tell us?

Bradford plays a key role in the regional economy, with 46,000 people commuting between Leeds and Bradford each day. This is the largest flow between any two cities in the UK. Over 40 large companies are headquartered in the Bradford district, employing 370,000 people across the UK with a combined turnover of £30 billion – impressive numbers for sure.

Economic growth since 2008 has outstripped regional and national averages and we have seen a 70% increase in foreign investment in Bradford in the last year. The district’s Job Seekers claimant rate has reduced by a significant 22% in the last 12 months, which compares very favourably to the UK average drop of 7.1%.

What has driven this growth?

The £35 million City Centre Growth Zone has played a key role, offering unique financial incentives and benefits to businesses. The result has seen a real expansion in business activity and an increase in footfall rates across the city centre with 250 businesses creating over 465 new jobs in the city centre.  Coupled with the opening of the Broadway shopping centre which is projected to attract an additional 9 million shoppers a year, this positive outlook and growth has made the city centre a very attractive proposition to both businesses and visitors. Plans are underway for further large-scale mixed use schemes and Grade A office developments with negotiations taking place with private sector partners.

Forks Cafe, Bradford
Happy staff at the successful Forks Cafe!

We went to the heart of Bradford’s independent quarter to see the positive impact of Growth Zone funding on thriving business and social enterprise Forks Café. We spoke to Jon Royle, Chief Executive of the Bridge Project which owns Forks Café who explained, “Since we opened Forks Café we’ve had a fantastic reception from the public and local business community. We usually appear in the top 10 Bradford restaurants on Trip Advisor and we’ve provided dozens of our beneficiaries with structured work experience, many of whom have gone on to find full time jobs. Without the support of the Growth Zone none of this would have been possible. Thanks to the investment from Bradford Council we’ve opened a popular business that achieves important social outcomes.” Continue reading Enterprising Bradford

Find free local Wi-Fi and Pokémon GO locations with the Bradford Council app

In the latest update to the Bradford Council mobile app, we have added all our public free Wi-Fi points and local Pokémon GO locations to the map.

You won’t need to download an updated version of the app from the App Store to see these new locations. You will just need to make sure the content of your app is up-to-date. If you are using the app over Wi-Fi, the content will regularly update automatically. If you are using your mobile data, you may need to update the content manually. Simply tap on the updates menu along the bottom of the app, and then tap the downward arrow next to each item to download the updates.

App update cotent
How to update content in the Bradford Council app

Once your app content is up-to-date, you will see new location categories for free public Wi-Fi, Pokémon GO Gyms and Pokémon GO PokéStops. Just tap on the Locations tile on the app homepage and you will see all the location categories.

Location categories on Bradford Council app

Find Bradford Council’s free public Wi-Fi points

Now you will be able to easily use our app to find our free Wi-Fi in the Bradford district. You can browse a list of our public Wi-Fi points, or view them all pinned on the map. If you enter a search term, both the list and the area map will be filtered to match your search.

So, now when you are out and about and don’t have access to mobile data, you can easily find our nearest free Wi-Fi point whether you are working or playing. Speaking of playing… Continue reading Find free local Wi-Fi and Pokémon GO locations with the Bradford Council app

How to get Bradford Festival alerts on your phone

At Bradford Festival this weekend you can get notifications on your phone about activities and performances that are about to begin as well as other festival information.

Your phone (or tablet) will need:

  • The latest version of the Bradford Council app. It has been updated this week to version 5.4.6 on Android and version 7.3.11 on iOS.
  • Bluetooth turned on.
  • A data connection, either through your own 3G/4G or via the free City Park Wi-Fi.

If you have all those things, you’ll be able to get our festival notifications.

The first time you walk into City Park during the festival you will get a push notification asking you if you want to subscribe to festival alerts.

Bradford Council app alert for Bradford Festival
This alert from our app will let you subscribe to further notifications about Bradford Festival

If you open this notification and subscribe to further alerts, you will then get notifications at the relevant times for things that are about to start. Each message will give you an option to unsubscribe if you no longer want to get the notifications.

We are delighted to be working in partnership with the University of Bradford on this project. The expertise of their mobile technology staff has been brilliant.

To send these notifications just to people within a small area we are using iBeacons owned by the University. The beacons are small battery-powered transmitters in fixed locations which emit a Bluetooth signal. This signal is detected by our app and this creates each alert sent to your device.

We’re really keen to trial new technology to improve the way we communicate with people and to enhance people’s experience and enjoyment of events. That’s why we are also trying out Snapchat for the first time at this year’s Bradford Festival.

The use of these iBeacons is a pilot and we would really value your feedback if you subscribe to these notifications.  We would love to find out if they worked as you expected and if they added to your festival experience. Continue reading How to get Bradford Festival alerts on your phone