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Bradford delegation meet with Chancellor Rishi Sunak

July 12th, 2022

BRADFORD business leaders say Chancellor Rishi Sunak has held out fresh hope of a new, through rail station in the city.  He met with members from Bradfod Breakthrough, which represents big business and organisations across the district, along with the district’s five MPs, three Bradford peers and the President of Bradford Chamber.  The delegation argued that dropping the proposed Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) station was a “huge mistake” that could cost the district up to £30bn in growth and investment – and 27,000 extra jobs by 2060.

There was fury last November when the Government’s long-awaited Integrated Rail Plan (IRP) confirmed weeks of rumours and leaks that a new high-speed NPR line between Leeds and Manchester, via Bradford, had been scrapped.  It was described as a  “betrayal of Bradford”, but business leaders said the Chancellor this week committed to “looking in detail at the report from the Select Committee” reviewing the rail plan and invited the delegation to set up a follow-up meeting with Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

 Dr Trevor Higgins, the group’s chief executive, said: “Bradford’s terrible transport infrastructure was right at the top of the list and it remains there all these years later.  In November 2018, we met with the then Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, who said ‘Bradford has a third world transport infrastructure that is simply not acceptable today’.  He promised to take action but was replaced soon after, so nothing got delivered and here we are again.”

Dr Higgins said a new city centre station on a new mainline route connecting the city to Manchester “would secure £30 billion in growth and investment to the district, generate £3 billion in additional GVA and create 27,000 additional jobs by 2060”.  And while plans for the electrification of the Leeds/Bradford section of the Calder Valley line and increasing the frequency of trains were welcome “this should be delivered in tandem with the provision of a new station”.

“Not to build a station is a huge mistake given that Bradford was recently named as having the worst rail connections of any major British city,” said Dr Higgins.  He added: “Bradford is the biggest levelling up opportunity in the country and we will continue to push for our people and businesses to be given the opportunity to fulfil their potential.”

Dr Bob Gomersall, chairman of Bradford Breakthrough, said: “Most journeys from Bradford to Manchester and London go via Leeds and direct journeys are slow and infrequent.  Essentially Bradford is on a branch line to Leeds, and this has to change for Bradford’s economy to really lift off.  We don’t care about the details of the solution and see that as the job of government and local government.  Our role is to grow and create wealth and jobs, and we think it is reasonable to expect the infrastructure to keep up with us.”

Professor Zahir Irani, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Bradford, told the Chancellor: “I want to leave you with a clear message, the job of levelling-up-Bradford is not yet done.  We want to ask Government to re-draw those strong connections between a new city centre hub station and its role in unlocking a mega-regeneration project that will create a modern European city that can attract and retain talent, boost productivity, increase employment, and leverage the district’s diverse cultural assets, whilst continuing to build a more inclusive, sustainable, and resilient economy that allows all our communities to thrive.”

Mark Cowgill, director of Exa Networks, said Bradford had been in need of a properly connected rail network for decades and the poor transport infrastructure was hampering the district’s growth by preventing businesses from attracting the right skills.  Well-connected cities, such as Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool have thrived, Bradford has not,” he said.   “Bradford has the youngest population of any city in the UK, which presents a tremendous opportunity, not only for the city but as a workforce for the wider Northern region, with the right transport options. If we do not do this, the impact to the rest of the North in the future could be severe.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Transport said: “We are already spending up to £500m on the electrification and upgrade of the Calder Valley Leeds-Bradford line, cutting journey times from 20 minutes to as low as 12 minutes – around a 40 per cent reduction on typical journey times.  However, we will consider the recommendations of the Transport Select Committee’s report when it is published”.

Incommunities appoints director to deliver new 1,000 homes

January 30th, 2022

GRAEME Scott has been appointed Executive Director of Development at Incommunities, a 22,500-home association based in Bradford.  He joins from Trafford Housing Trust where he held the position of Executive Development Director for the past three years. Graeme’s appointment strengthens Incommunities’ commitment to develop a pipeline of over 1,000 homes for communities in the next three years.

Mr Scott said: “I am delighted to be joining Incommunities at such a key time. My aim is for us to become a strong and attractive partner, delivering innovative solutions to the housing and climate crisis.”

Rachael Dennis, Chief Executive says: “This is an exciting time for Incommunities. Graeme’s experience in strategic development, relationship building and operational delivery, together with his collaborative leadership style, will be pivotal in ensuring we meet our strategic aims and continue to thrive as we deliver our ambitious development plans to build over 1,000 homes in the next three years.  This new role will be instrumental in driving forward our new strategic priorities and two-year plan and will provide leadership by building a team focused on fulfilling our development commitment to help tackle the housing crisis.”

Mr Scott will begin in his new role in April.



Bradford business school ranked as best in the country

November 30th, 2021

THE UNIVERSITY of Bradford’s business school has been recognised as the best in the country.

The ‘world renowned’ School of Management was awarded the Business School of the Year at the Times Higher Education Awards 2021, which is widely regarded as ‘Oscars of higher education’.

It’s the first business school to be jointly accredited by AMBA (the highest standard of achievement in postgraduate business education) and BGA (gold-standard quality assurance achievement) in England, and in February this year, its MBA was ranked No.1 in the world for value for money by the Financial Times.

Members of the School, including Professor Sankar Sivarajah (Head of School), Professor Amir Sharif (Dean of the Faculty of Management, Law & Social Sciences), Professor Vishanth Weerakkody (former dean) and others, attended a celebration dinner at Hilton London Metropole Hotel on Thursday, November 25.

Prof Sivarajah said: “This is a real honour for our staff and everyone who have contributed to the successful development of the School and continuing to do so. Much of the work for this award was focussed on the period during the pandemic when we were actively engaged in supporting students and the community, launching a number of initiatives that really did make a difference to people. Business school should add value to society and so this award means a lot.”

Professor Zahir Irani, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic, Innovation & Quality) said: “I’m so proud of this award and recognition and absolutely delighted for the team – but I’m even more delighted for Bradford. This is a powerful recognition by our peers in the sector that we are doing the right thing for our students, our staff and our community. Many congratulations to everyone who contributed to this amazing achievement.”

The School was shortlisted in September – its application cited numerous innovations and initiatives from the last 12 months, including, an MSc course in AI and Data Analytics to help mature students gain new skills and a ‘career booster’ programme, designed to give industry knowledge to students.

The THE Award judging panel stated: “The University of Bradford’s School of Management has focused on becoming an engine of economic and social regeneration and focused on helping graduates from disadvantaged backgrounds.This was an impressive entry, showing a very clear strategy”.

The news comes just one day after the University was awarded the coveted Queen’s Anniversary Prize for its world-leading work in developing archaeological technology and techniques.

Aagrah and Mumtaz shortlisted for British Curry Awards

November 19th, 2021

TWO Bradford restaurants have been shortlisted for a national “Curry Oscar”.

Aagrah, in Thornbury, and Mumtaz, in Great Horton Road, are both up for an gong at the British Curry Awards. The awards, which make an in-person return for its 17th year after being run virtually in 2020, celebrates the best curry houses across the country. They are recognised globally and were dubbed the “Curry Oscars” by former Prime Minister David Cameron.

There are 13 categories in total this year, with establishments from the same areas competing against each other to be named the best spice restaurant in their region. This includes: Scotland, the North East, the North West, the East Midlands, the West Midlands, Wales, the South East, the South West, London central and city, and London outer and suburbs.

Both Aagrah and Mumtaz have been shortlisted in the Best Spice Restaurant in North East award.

There are also the “Best Newcomer”, “Best Delivery Restaurant/Takeaway” and “Most Innovative Restaurants Concept” categories as well. Aagrah and Mumtaz faced off against each other back in 2019, with the latter securing the top prize for the second year in a row.

This year’s ceremony is in Battersea Evolution, in London and takes place on Monday, November 29. It will once again welcome in-person prominent personalities from the worlds of politics, sport, showbiz and entertainment, alongside celebrity chefs and curry restaurant owners and their staff from across the country.

Last year’s ceremony, which was live streamed due to pandemic restrictions, was attended virtually by Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan; Love Island contestants, Amy Hart, Nas Majeed and Eva Zapico; TOWIE star, Jess Wright; and model and TV personality, Caprice, among others. TV comedian and impressionist, Rory Bremner, hosted the virtual event.

Curry houses across the country are nominated by their local customers and this then creates an authentic list of the nation’s favourite Asian eateries. There is then a rigorous vetting process conducted by an independent panel of judges.

British Curry Awards Founder, Enam Ali MBE, is the UK’s leading spokesperson for the curry industry and has been promoting it globally for the past 45 years. A restaurateur himself and owner of Le Raj curry restaurant, Epsom, he said: “It gives me great joy that, after the challenges of the last 18 months, my industry friends in the UK curry fraternity and public figures will unite once again in person at the home of the British Curry Awards – Battersea Evolution – to celebrate the nation’s favourite curry houses while also recognising the issues we, as an industry and as a nation, have faced during the pandemic. Testament to the entrepreneurial spirit of the cross-generational migrant community that comprises the UK’s curry industry, we have come back ever more determined to serve curry lovers up and down the country, continuing to take on all challenges head on and ensure the industry continues to thrive once again. At the same time, we will pay tribute to our industry colleagues that we have sadly lost to Covid. Their presence is deeply missed among us.”

The British Curry Awards are in association with Just Eat. Andrew Kenny, UK Managing Director at Just Eat, said: “It’s a great honour to once again be sponsoring the British Curry Awards. After an incredibly challenging 18 months, there’s never been a better time to recognise the resilient and hard-working individuals within the restaurant and takeaway sector. Despite the many obstacles faced, from shortages in the supply chain to difficulty in recruiting skilled workers, restaurants have risen to the occasion and delivered customers a taste of normality when they needed it the most. We want to ensure that takeaway restaurants – especially in this sector which contributes so much to British culture – don’t just survive, but thrive, in today’s challenging economic climate.”

Bradford Breakthrough members enjoying our annual dinner 2021

October 16th, 2021

Speaker James Mason, CEO, Welcome to Yorkshire

Welcome  by Bradford Breakthrough Chairman Dr. Bob Gomersall

How Bradford businesses are pledging to make a difference

October 14th, 2021

Bradford businesses are among those to be recognised for going above and beyond in making ethical, environmental and societal changes. West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce has announced the return of its Raising the Bar (Businesses Acting Responsibly) event, which will be held next month.

Raising the Bar is the Chamber’s initiative to support, encourage, advise and reward businesses which go above and beyond in making a positive impact. In a change to its usual celebration of businesses which have delivered impactful social responsibility programmes, the Chamber recognised the challenges of Covid and launched its ‘Make a Pledge to Make a Difference’ campaign in April 2021 to encourage businesses from across the region to pledge their social responsibility targets. Pledges include activities to benefit the community, the environment, the economy, employees and education and are achievable regardless of business and lifestyle restrictions.

Award-winning, Saltaire-based architects Rance Booth Smith has pledged to hold staff charity fundraising social events. Director Linda Hollings said: “Although we are now operating a hybrid working model, it’s important we keep staff motivated, active, involved and connecting. We know from our pre-Covid charity days just what a powerful tool fundraising is to focus the team and be part of a collective effort to make a difference. In this new era of fundraising, we wanted to use the Chamber’s ‘Make a Pledge’ campaign to share our experiences and our ideas with other businesses to help encourage more of the same in all corners of the business community.”

Meanwhile, Bradford-based accountancy firm Naylor Wintersgill has pledged to provide 30-minute weekly term time reading sessions.

Sandy Needham, West and North Yorkshire Chamber Chief Executive, said: “The pledges campaign is helping to get social responsibility back into business conversations and we are delighted that many local businesses have already made a pledge.”

Sponsored by Provident Financial and HSBC, Raising the Bar is in its sixth year and has historically helped businesses accrue over 20,000 hours in donated time and more than £150,000 in funds raised. The Raising the Bar programme and Make a Pledge campaign are available to all businesses, irrespective of Chamber membership.

More information about making a business pledge as part of the Raising The Bar initiative can be found at or by emailing All pledges submitted before October 15 will be considered for formal recognition by a panel of judges who will conduct telephone interviews with the businesses involved.

University of Bradford shortlisted for award

September 18th, 2021

UNIVERSITY of Bradford’s School of Management has been shortlisted for Business School of the Year by the Times Higher Education (THE) Awards 2021. The THE Awards are widely recognised as the ‘Oscars of higher education’, attracting hundreds of entrants.

Prof Sankar Sivarajah, Head of the School of Management, said: “This is great news for the School and our University. Even to be shortlisted is a significant achievement, given the level of competition for this award. The last year has been particularly challenging, for students, graduates, staff and businesses. At the School of Management, we stepped up to and met the challenges created by the pandemic, offering extra support to our students, launching new courses and extending help to local businesses. We are pleased and proud our hard work has resulted in this shortlisting and everyone in the School should feel proud. We would also like to congratulate all those nominated at the awards and we look forward to celebrating the fantastic achievements by all in these difficult times.”

The University’s School of Management is world renowned – it was the first business school to be jointly accredited by AMBA and BGA in England and in February this year, its MBA was ranked No. 1 in the world for value for money by the Financial Times.

Prof. Vishanth Weerakkody, Chair of Bradford Business and Social Enterprise Board, said: “The School of Management is a shining example both at the University and in the region. It has won numerous prestigious awards. It is very much part of the community, having excellent links to businesses, regionally, nationally and globally. This shortlisting reflects its pioneering spirit and its vision to change people’s lives for the better.”

Vice-Chancellor Prof. Shirley Congdon added: “Staff in our Business School exemplify the University of Bradford’s caring approach and commitment to social inclusion. They look for innovative ways to attract students from all backgrounds and then support them in reaching their potential. The result is graduates who are fully-prepared for meaningful careers, whether that’s with regional employers, international brands or their own business start-up. Being shortlisted for this award is an achievement in itself and deserved recognition for everyone involved.”

Winners will be revealed at an in-person ceremony in London on 25 November 2021.

The Odeon

September 10th, 2021

Members of Bradford Breakthrough enjoying a visit to see the huge progress being made to transform the former Odeon into Bradford Live – a 4,000 capacity music venue, right in the heart of the City.

University of Bradford to get its own space research centre after huge donation

September 2nd, 2021

THE University of Bradford is set to get its very own space research centre, after a multi-million-pound donation from a university graduate. Dr Venkata ‘Murthy’ Renduchintala, studied at the university from 1983-1991, gaining a BEng degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering, a PhD in Satellite Communications and a Masters degree in Business Administration.

Dr Renduchintala said: “I am delighted to be able make this donation to my Alma Mater.  Whatever I have been able to achieve professionally thus far has been built on the solid academic foundation the university provided me with. It therefore seems both fitting and appropriate that I participate in helping the leadership of the university as they take this institute into important fields of research and learning that look towards our future. I am really excited by the ambitions we have for the centre and am confident that the research it conducts will be both influential and impactful.”

The centre’s long-term aim is to establish the Yorkshire and Humber region as the space technology anchor, through collaborations with governments, regional organisations and academia.

Professor Shirley Congdon, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bradford, said: “This investment means the university will be able to take advantage of the many opportunities that will be generated as a result of an increase in space exploration and to play a role in the creation of cutting-edge technologies.”

Dr Renduchintala is one of the most high-profile members of the university community, having pursued a distinguished career in developing and manufacturing wireless communications, System-on-Chip and Internet of Things technologies – working latterly as the Chief Engineering Officer for Intel Corporation. Now residing in the USA, his exceptionally generous donation will seed-fund the Bradford-Renduchintala Centre for Space. The centre will allow the university to deliver educational programmes in space and satellite technology development, and to play an active role in the creation of cutting-edge technologies.

 High profile external experts who have extensive industrial experience in satellite and space system will join the team to deliver the MSc programme, in addition to outreach activities to enhance the profile of the centre, and improve the diversity and calibre of students the MSc programme attracts.

The University of Bradford has a history of 40 years in Space and Satellite Technology.

Professor Fun Hu, Professor of Wireless Communications and the Centre Director, said: “The generous donation from Murthy has given the university a solid foundation to step out firmly to explore with the rest of the world in this space era.”

The Broadway shopping centre to house Bradford Street Angels project

August 23rd, 2021

A shopping centre in Bradford will be the new home for a charity project that works to look after the community at night. The Broadway shopping centre in Bradford city centre has stepped in to provide Bradford Street Angels with access to a private room to work from every Friday, free of charge.

Street Angels is a project that provides care and practical help to people who are out enjoying the city’s nightlife. Lorraine Betts, co-chair of Bradford Street Angels, said: “Street Angels is a voluntary organisation that relied on funding grants and donations to rent a ‘base’ for volunteers whilst working. We’re delighted to be able to alleviate this pressure and are so grateful to The Broadway for its kind offer. We have a wonderful team of volunteers that work very hard from early evening right through until the early hours of the morning. It is fantastic that we are able to have a warm and safe base at The Broadway to store our personal items and to provide space for rest between patrols.” The Street Angels patrol in teams of three or four and provide a listening ear to those who need to talk or provide support to the more vulnerable people they come across.

Ian Ward, general manager at The Broadway, said: “We firmly believe that The Broadway is at the heart of the local community. When we heard about the space required by the Street Angel volunteers to rest and recuperate whilst conducting their voluntary work, The Broadway management team came together to decide how we could help.  The Centre has ample space, particularly during the hours retailers are closed.  We have a private space that is relaxing and spacious, plus safe and protected.  We decided this was the ideal location for the Street Angel team particularly with its easy access to the streets of Bradford where the night economy is located.  The work the Street Angels team conduct is truly admirable and we’re delighted to provide the space free of charge to the organisation.” 

Bradford Street Angels are part of a wider national network of Street Angels. The first team started in Halifax in 2005 and there are now more than 100 across the UK. There are currently 20 volunteers on the Bradford Street Angels active list, but the team is actively searching for more so that patrols can take place on a Saturday evening as well as a Friday. Many of the volunteers come from local churches, though as long as the ethos is respected, volunteers may come from any faith or non-faith background.

For anyone wanting to get involved in Bradford Street Angels or to find out more information, contact the group through Facebook @BradfordStreetAngels

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