Students at the University of Bradford will receive a more colourful and inviting welcome to the city centre thanks to a new collaboration.
Bradford Business Improvement District (BID) has teamed up with student accommodation provider The Green on a range of projects to help introduce them to the city centre and spend more time there.
The first project has involved cleaning up and painting old and unattractive giant planters at the student apartments in De Walden Way, near Thornton Road.
The students were invited to choose their preferred designs from a selection put forward by Bradford designer and illustrator Sven Shaw, who last year created the Bradford In-spires murals on the ramp at the Interchange bus and rail station.
The BID commissioned the artwork – which features outlines of some the city’s landmark buildings, such as Lister’s Mill and the Wool Exchange, against a colourful backdrop – to provide a more uplifting vista for visitors using the walkway which runs alongside the Interchange in Bridge Street. Visitors to The Green will see echoes of those designs in the new Bradford-themed planter artwork.
Nikki Chadburn, business engagement officer at Bradford BID, said: “The team at The Green reached out to the BID after seeing the work we have been doing in the city centre to see how we could work together to help students make a connection with their new home, which is just a gentle 10-minute stroll away.
“We looked at a number of ideas to help make the 800 students moving into The Green this month more welcome and help them to navigate the city centre, including a new Student Trail on our LoyalFree app which we will be launching soon.
“The first project was to help animate the area around The Green by bringing new life and colour to these planters and we asked Sven Shaw to come up with some ideas, which they loved!”
The Green’s property manager, Ian Pilcher, said they were actively building relationships with local businesses and organisations to enhance the students’ experience.
“It is important for us to be integrated into the local community and to help students connect with the city centre,” said Mr Pilcher. “I reached out to the BID team and found they were very eager to encourage more students to use the city centre.
“I think for international students especially it is really important to let them know what amazing businesses Bradford has to offer, right on their doorstep.
“We discussed many ways of achieving this and the animation project is a great first step which we hope is the start of a brilliant relationship between The Green and BID team for the benefit of both the students and local businesses.”
Jonny Noble, manager of Bradford BID, the limited company funded by levy-payers to help promote and develop the city centre, added: “The University and Bradford College are a key part of the life of the city centre and the thousands of students who live and learn here are a vital part of that.
“They obviously spend money here to the benefit of businesses in every sector – from shops to cafes, from pubs and bars to cinemas, theatres and leisure attractions – and we want them to feel welcome and at home.
“We’ve missed them during the pandemic restrictions, when many were forced to study at home, and we’re really looking forward to seeing them back here and joining in the life of this rich and vibrant community.”