'Help our city centre businesses bounce back from…

'Help our city centre businesses bounce back from pandemic'

Bradford has a huge amount to offer for residents and visitors alike but we don’t always appreciate what we have on our doorstep, says Ian Ward, writing today in the first Bradford BID Getting Back to Business BLOG.

“Familiarity breeds contempt” the saying goes but “contempt” is not the right word in this context. Because we know the city so well, it’s easy to take it for granted; to overlook the qualities and attractions that many other cities would die for.

Bradford has a proud and rich history and even though times and fortunes change we still have that amazing legacy of when the city was one of the fastest-growing business centres in the country, at the centre of a huge international trade in wool and the engine of industrial innovation.

That period produced tremendous physical growth and a determination from our forefathers to show off their new-found importance in the sheer prestige of our built environment.

Very few towns or cities in the UK can boast a mass of Victorian buildings of such high quality and grandeur. Today, they still form a fabulous backdrop to a shopping, hospitality and leisure experience that is rich in culture.

Add to those modern developments such as City Park and The Broadway, important and renowned cultural institutions including the National Science and Media Museum, the Alhambra Theatre and St George’s Hall, and unique visitor experiences like Sunbridgewells, and you start to see why Bradford is the envy of many other places.

The last few months have been hard for everybody, and we may well have to live with the limitations that the Covid-19 pandemic imposes for a good while to come, but there is light at the end of the tunnel and we should see the present situation as a fabulous opportunity to revisit and reacquaint ourselves with what our amazing city has to offer.

Bradford BID has worked extremely hard during the lockdown period to help businesses prepare for the recovery and we are continuing to do all we can to offer support and guidance, with our focus on Getting Bradford Back to Business.

As part of that campaign, we have launched Welcome to Brilliant Bradford to encourage visitors old and new to see the city in a new light, to rediscover its shops, its hostelries and its attractions, to think like a first-time visitor; to call into and wander round streets and shops they may have got used to passing by unnoticed; to fall back in love with the glorious architecture and the palpable sense of history.

We want people to familiarise themselves with Bradford all over again and, in doing so, to help our city centre businesses to bounce back from the financial traumas the pandemic inflicted. And when the time is right, they will be well prepared to encourage others to join them and come and see for themselves with a simple message: Welcome to Brilliant Bradford!