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Businesses can share ‘it only takes a minute to shine’ video

February 6th, 2021

BUSINESSES in the Bradford district are being given the chance to showcase themselves in a short video. The Telegraph & Argus, Bradford Means Business and LOCALiQ all want local businesses to send in a video.

T&A sales director Steve Lowe said: “Why not share a video with us and we’ll put them all together in a special dedicated where we can showcase the fantastic businesses we have in Bradford and around us. In less than 60 seconds tell us about you, your business, what you offer, a message to your customers and to potential new ones.” Each video will sit as part of a Connecting Local Business campaign in the T&A, on the Bradford Means Business website and their YouTube channel – all for free.

Steve said: “Over the next few weeks we are all sitting waiting for businesses to be kick-started back into action, so why not take a few minutes to record what you and your business has to offer, whether you are closed and looking forward to welcoming customers back, open behind closed doors or trading as normal, you all have a story to tell and a reason we should use your goods and services when it is safe to do so. Once you’ve sent us your video, visit our Bradford Means Business Facebook page, click to attend our ‘Love LOCAL business’ Facebook Event and along with every other business who sends us a video we will create a community of fellow local businesses all sharing their videos too.”

The Facebook event will take place in the week commencing February 22 – supported by editorial coverage in the T&A, Bradford Means Business and our weekly newspapers alongside an online marketing campaign – so together let’s shout about you and your business and get your customers excited too. All you need to do is create your own 60-second video, ideally film it in your shop, pub or restaurant to highlight what you offer; you could be open, closed, open behind closed doors; you could be a tradesman that shares the story of what you do and the work you have done; and click our event page on Facebook and click to attend

Send the video in this format: Record on your mobile phone in portrait mode; no more than 60 seconds; include your name; where you are based, what you do/offer and why we should use you; be smiley, welcoming and yourself; email your video to with your contact details including contact telephone number. The deadline for videos is February 15 at 5pm.

Steve said: “In return, we will put your video on our Bradford Means Business website and YouTube channel; we will create a dedicated page on the T&A website for those wanting to have your video seen there too; we will create an editorial and advertising campaign to tell the 600k plus readers/visitors of the T&A/Craven Herald/Ilkley Gazette and Keighley News to see your video and we will run a Facebook event week commencing February 22 so the Facebook world to find your video too.”

Bradford 2025 City of Culture bid

February 5th, 2021

Bradford 2025 City of Culture bid will be a ‘game changer’ according to University chiefs

Bradford BID receives national BID Foundation’s kitemark

February 3rd, 2021

BRADFORD Business Improvement District (BID) has become one of the first in the country to achieve prestigious recognition for its high standards – despite being only two years old.

To date, only 10 BIDs – out of more than 330 nationwide – have been awarded The BID Foundation’s kitemark, which has been developed in consultation with BIDs, levy-payer groups and policy-makers, including the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, to provide a benchmark for quality and governance.

Jonny Noble, Bradford BID manager, said: “We’re incredibly proud to be awarded this recognition, especially as we’ve only been in operation for two years. The first seven BIDs to achieve it were well-established organisations that took part in an initial pilot so, in effect, Bradford is one of the first three to have got there under our own steam. So we’re enormously pleased that all that hard work has been recognised and the industry itself has rated our achievements to date so highly.”

The BID Foundation’s Industry Standards were launched in December 2020 to help increase the transparency, accountability and professionalism of the industry and are designed to drive and embed best practice across the sector. They include 11 tests for BIDs, ranging from how easy the BID is to contact and to access information from, to important measures to ensure they are public and transparent.

The Standards cover key aspects of a BID’s structure and operations including its business plan, governance and reporting, directors and personal interests, and detail on ballot results. They have been introduced as a result of recommendations made following recent research into the BID sector and its development in the UK.

To win accreditation, BIDs must pass a rigorous assessment process, completed independently by the Institute of Place Management (IPM). Following submission of evidence from BIDs, an audit is completed to ensure a BID’s online presence and information on its structures and processes meet the Industry Standards. The process normally involves feedback and suggested revisions in order to become compliant with the standards, with further audits undertaken on additional evidence provided by each BID. The kitemark is awarded for a 12-month period, with compliance reviewed after this time to ensure continuing transparency and quality in the sector.

Bradford BID chairman Ian Ward, who is also general manager of The Broadway shopping centre, said winning the accreditation at such an early stage, and with the pandemic going on throughout half of the BID’s existence, was a “remarkable accomplishment.”

Mr Ward said: “It’s a fantastic achievement by Jonny Noble and his small-but-perfectly-formed team. They have worked extremely hard to achieve this, both before and during lockdown, and it’s a real testament to their determination to do the right thing for Bradford and it’s often hard-pressed businesses. We are also blessed with an enormously supportive and engaged operating board, who play a really active role in overseeing the running of the BID and ensuring that we maintain high standards at all times. We have very high attendance at all our monthly board meetings – far more so than with other BIDs I have worked with – and it really shows in the quality of our work and the ideas and imagination invested in everything we have achieved to date. It’s still early days for Bradford BID and, even though our third year has begun in difficult circumstances with the national lockdown, I am very confident that this accreditation will put an extra spring in our step and the city centre will reap the benefits when the restrictions are eased and we can all start getting properly back on our feet.”

South Africa goal for Bradford Grammar School rugby teams

January 30th, 2021

A BRADFORD school’s rugby union teams are taking on their very own unique 8,000 mile trek.

Bradford Grammar School are big on the sport, with former Bulls and Bradford Salem man Glenn Morrison among the coaching staff there. And with a senior tour to South Africa on the horizon once Covid restrictions are over, the school thought they’d get there early…sort of.

Five BGS teams will travel the distance from the school to Cape Town, by whatever means, provided it is non-motorised. Any physical exertion counts, even it is by unusual means like skiing, kayaking or horse riding. The goal the players are looking to reach is 7,799 miles, which according to Google Maps, is the distance on foot.

The money raised from the challenge will be going to the Rugby Parents Association, who fund many things to improve the overall rugby experience at BGS. Some funds will go towards the aforementioned real-life tour of South Africa, as well as other junior tour items. A portion will also go towards the school’s chosen charity, Oddballs, an underwear brand that raises awareness of testicular cancer.

There will be individual and team prizes on offer for those participating, and though the challenge began on Thursday, it is not too late to sign up. Contact to get involved.

Yorkshire Building Society wins High Street Provider award

January 29th, 2021

YORKSHIRE Building Society has been crowned High Street Provider of the Year for both mortgages and savings, after consumers at the 2021 Moneyfacts Consumer Awards.

The Bradford-based mutual took the top awards in the two categories at the annual event, which aims to give the UK’s millions of customers a chance to reflect how they feel about the range of products available to them.

Award winners were chosen based on customer feedback from more than 130,000 consumers.  The society was also highly commended in the First Time Mortgage Buyers’ Choice award and commended in the ISA Provider of the Year category.

Chris Irwin, director of mortgages at Yorkshire Building Society, said: “Our purpose has always been to help people build financial resilience and to own their own home – these two awards demonstrate we continue to do that, successfully, more than 150 years after we started.” 


More Bradford support demanded after Sunak’s grim ‘economy will get worse’ warning

January 24th, 2021

BUSINESS owners have been warned the economy will “get worse before it gets better” in a gloomy forecast by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Rishi Sunak made the grim statement during a speech in the House of Commons yesterday outlining his economic plan for the coming weeks.  He said he can’t protect every job and business; in Bradford 1,300 businesses are at risk of going bust and 12,000 workers could be out of jobs, research last month warned.  He said: “Even with the significant economic support we’ve provided, over 800,000 people have lost their job since February. And while the new national restrictions are necessary to control the spread of the virus, they will have a further significant economic impact. We should expect the economy to get worse before it gets better. Sadly, we have not and will not be able to save every job and every business. But I am confident that our economic plan is supporting the finances of millions of people and businesses.

Across almost all areas of economic policy, we are providing comparable or greater support than all our international peers. And as the Office for Budget Responsibility, the Bank of England and the IMF have all recognised, our economic response is making a difference – saving jobs, keeping businesses afloat and supporting people’s incomes. While the vaccine provides hope, the economy is going to get worse before it gets better. Many people are losing their jobs, businesses are struggling, our public finances have been badly damaged and will need repair. The road ahead will be tough. Now, it is time for responsible management of our economy, taking the difficult but right long-term decisions for our country. But, I am confident that with this comprehensive support that Government is providing and above all, the determination, enterprise and resilience of the British people, we will get through this.” 
Labour’s shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds slammed the Chancellor in her response for being “nowhere to be seen” during last week’s lockdown announcement. She said: “Today the Chancellor appears out of ideas, urging us to look towards the sunny uplands but providing nothing new. The purpose of an update is to provide us with new information not to repeat what we already know. Will we have to wait until the Budget for a recognition of all of these problems and solutions to them? The people of Britain understand that they have to make sacrifices. They’re doing their bit for the national effort, while the vaccine is rolled. They’re fulfilling their side of the bargain. The Chancellor must fulfil his.”

Trevor Higgins, chief executive of Bradford Breakthrough, said he agrees with the Chancellor’s gloomy prediction, but said it is necessary to save lives. He said: “I’m sure things will get worse, and are likely to have an even more profound impact on the North, and given the length of time we have been in lockdown, the damage has already been done. But, with the pressure we are under every chance needs to be taken to save lives so the vaccine can be rolled out. It worries me from a business point of view, but everyone needs to take all measures possible to reduce contact to stop this getting out of hand. Areas like Bradford need specific support. What’s been given so far is well received but it should have been given earlier and for longer. We’ve been hit the hardest.”

Long-standing Incommunities’ CEO Geraldine Howley retires from role

January 16th, 2021

THE long-standing chief executive of social housing provider Incommunities is to retire at the end of the month, after nearly two decades at its helm. 

Geraldine Howley has served the social housing sector for more than 40 years, starting her career as a temporary housing receptionist with Bradford Council in the late 1970s, when she was based at Jacob’s Well. It was a career she fell into by chance after initially providing maternity cover, but it marked the start of a lengthy journey which would see her take on a number of high-profile roles in the district and receive an OBE in 2017 for services to housing, young people and the local community. She said: “I just loved the people side, the fact that you could help people and try and make a difference to people’s lives by helping them into decent quality housing. I just loved everything about it.” Geraldine worked her way up to becoming a housing officer, which at the time was very much a ‘man’s world’ and what she described as a “baptism of fire”.

The 1980s saw a change in the tenant-landlord relationship, bringing things like residents’ groups to the fore and the realisation that there needed to be more engagement with tenants.

In her time, Geraldine has covered key patches in the city including the Manchester Road area; Canterbury; Thorpe Edge and Buttershaw. She progressed with the Council and eventually became the local authority’s Director of Housing, before leading the new Bradford Community Housing Trust group in 2003. This saw the stock transfer, voted for by Council tenants, of more than 26,000 homes, which was a highlight for Geraldine. She said: “What that enabled us to do was invest, it allowed us to borrow. There’s no way we were going to get that investment going through Government funding. I think it’s allowed some massive regeneration in our communities and investment in the stock.”

It also saw the building of new homes and branching out into other parts of Yorkshire. In 2008, the group was rebranded as Incommunities, with Geraldine overseeing its growth through mergers, stock acquisitions and restructures. 

One challenge over the years has been welfare reform, said Geraldine, particularly when the Bedroom Tax came into force.  Making sure there is the right housing, in the right locations, of the right type is key and has been reflected in the decision to demolish some of the Manchester Road blocks of flats, due to consistently low demand.  And while there is not a massive waiting list, Geraldine said, some flats are hard to let.  She said: “For Bradford there’s an over supply in our stock of flats and what we need is more family homes.  We need more affordable housing and that’s up and down the country, that’s really where it’s at.”

Geraldine said her time had sometimes been a “steep learning curve” from her first steps as a housing officer and added: “I’ve loved my time at Incommunities and delivering our vision of improving people’s lives has always been my guiding principle as its CEO.”

She will continue as Chair of the Chartered Institute of Housing Governing Board and will become director of the GEM programme, which she co-founded in 2009, which encourages people into careers in housing.

She will also join national social housing borrowing vehicle, MORhomes in April as a non-executive director.

Incommunities hand over raffle cash boost to Cellar Trust

January 12th, 2021

KINDHEARTED Incommunities staff raised £2,817 for the Cellar Trust following a prize raffle. More than 200 gifts were donated by suppliers and contractors of the Shipley-based housing group.

Every year, staff with the Asset Management Service organise a prize draw in support of a different charity and this time they raised the highest amount they’ve ever done. The money will go towards the Cellar Trust’s mental health services which support people across Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven. The charity provides tailored support to help local people move forward in their lives and unfortunately, they have seen the pandemic bring extra pressures on their vital services.

Incommunities’ support for the Cellar Trust comes on top of donations made by the housing group to three local charities helping families urgently needing food and other daily essential items.  They are Bradford Central Foodbank, Bradford Metropolitan Food Bank and the Welcome Trust in Kirklees.

Geraldine Howley, Incommunities’ Group Chief Executive, said: “Thanks to the wonderful support of staff at Incommunities and our partners we are delighted to handover this donation to the Cellar Trust. The pandemic has affected the vital services of so many charities – locally and nationally – and we hope our support will give a real boost to everyone at the Cellar Trust at this difficult time. As a local housing provider our staff see first hand the significant challenges many people are facing right now and we know the Trust do tremendous work to empower residents to move forward in their lives.”

Kim Shutler, Chief Executive of the Cellar Trust, said: “We are so grateful for the support from Incommunities, who we have worked with supporting people back into work for a number of years.  This has, and continues, to be a very challenging time for so many people in our District and contributions like this make a huge difference when it comes to ensuring that we can be there for people when they need us. The funding will support our Emergency Appeal which is to increase the capacity of our crisis provision when people are at their lowest.”

For more information, or to make a donation, go to

Demolition set to begin on Manchester Road flats

December 14th, 2020

WORK to demolish eight blocks of flats and change Bradford city centre’s skyline is due to start tomorrow, 10 December.

A 62 metre tall, 140 tonne excavating machine has been brought in ahead of the demolition of flat blocks just outside the city centre off Manchester Road. Thomas Crompton, which is carrying out the work, had to escort the Hitachi high reach machine into the city in four parts, and it has been assembled on site ready to work. It will work alongside two other 80 tonne machines to pull down the flats to make way for a multi-million pound housing development.

Local contractors have been stripping out the Stuart, Tudor, Hapsburg, Windsor and Bolingbroke Court blocks, and the 13-storey flats are set to be demolished over the coming weeks. Work will then begin again in the New Year to tear down the three Y-shaped blocks nearby – Ashton House, Osmond House and Taunton House. All debris and materials from the demolitions is being recycled into hardcore for roads and construction. Once the flats are gone, work can begin on building more than 100 family homes on the site.

Geraldine Howley, chief executive of Incommunities Group, said: “These blocks have been home to thousands of people over the years but sadly in recent years have proved difficult to re-let despite our best efforts. This really is a significant moment and the opportunity to make a big step towards delivering a prestigious development of much needed family homes fit for the 21st century.”

Rupert Pometsey, Incommunities’ director of development and growth, is overseeing the demolition programme. He said: “It’s great to see these specialist excavators move onto site as we get to the ‘business end’ of the demolitions of these blocks. Over the next few weeks it promises to be quite a sight as the structures come down and we look forward to a new beginning for the community. We have planning approval in place and are now finalising plans to deliver a landmark development that will be a catalyst for the revitalisation of the area.”

Angela Perry, Incommunities’ assistant chief executive, for asset management, added: “We are all really excited about building a new future at Manchester Road. There has been a significant change in the type of homes people want and it’s about providing the right housing in the right place. We are committed to regenerating the area with a development that  provides attractive affordable homes within easy access to the city centre.”

University of Bradford’s student hardship fund hits £5k mark

December 6th, 2020

THE University of Bradford’s student hardship fund is continuing to rise after raising £5,000 in the first day.

The Covid-19 Hardship Fund Appeal for students, launched on December 3, was a response from the University’s Money Team who saw a 107 per cent increase in applications for its hardship funding from students at the University. One of the first donors was retired Bradford pharmacist Manoj Joshi, pictured, who pledged £500. A Past District Governor of Rotary International, he is an honorary graduate of the University, Deputy Lieutenant of West Yorkshire and founding Chairman of Bradford Academy. Speaking about his donation, the former Ugandan refugee, who came to the UK in 1972, said: “I made a donation because I know what it’s like to have nothing. It’s so important to support people who are in that situation. It sends a powerful message and I urge others who can to do the same.”

Money raised will be used to support some of the poorest students, many of whom have little or no other means of financial income other than working part time – something many have been unable to do during lockdown.

 Professor Shirley Congdon, Vice Chancellor, University of  Bradford said: “This is an amazing response to our student hardship fund and shows the generosity and kindness of all those who donated. These donations will help some of our poorest students, many of whom have little or no support structures. We appreciate all the contributions which have been made so far and we’d love to get closer to our target. In a ‘normal’ year, evidence overwhelmingly shows, the number one reason students drop out of university is because of financial hardship and debt. As we know, this is not a normal year and some of our students are experiencing severe hardship. With your support, we can keep them in education and allow them to build the future they deserve.”

The money could help a student eat a healthy meal and cover the cost of food, pay for their heating bill or allow them to pay their rent.

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