REPRESENTATIVES of every sector involved in Bradford’s evening and night-time economy are coming together in a unique drive to make the city a more exciting and enjoyable place after 5pm.
A new membership body – called Bradford at Night – is being set up with its own board of voluntary directors and a dedicated co-ordinator to dramatically improve Bradford’s after hours offer.
For the first time, it will see every sector – pubs, bars, cafes, restaurants, nightclubs, retail, hotels, entertainment venues and leisure destinations, as well as police and security staff – working together to make the quality of its evening experience a key focus of the city’s post-Covid revival.
It has been brought together by Bradford Business Improvement District (BID) but will operate completely independently with its own constitution and aims and objectives, with the support of the BID.
Alison Lowe OBE, the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime (DMPC) in West Yorkshire, is Patron of the new organisation, which was formally launched before an audience of invited guests at the Midland Hotel.
Bradford at Night Director Dave Downes said: “Bradford is going through a very exciting period – with the City of Culture 2025 shortlisting and important new venues such as Bradford Live and the Darley Street Market opening soon – and there can be no better time to grasp the opportunity to revolutionise the city’s evening and night-time economy.
“It is vital to the future success of the city centre that it grows and thrives and we want to help develop and support our night-time offer to ensure there are excellent operational procedures and partnership working in place.
“We want to create an ambitious forward-looking and inspirational city at night with high-class entertainment, varied businesses and investment opportunities that will bring about regeneration and economic growth over the years to come.
“A huge amount of work has already gone into pulling together all the strings involved in Bradford at Night and we believe every sector is ready and willing to work in partnership to bring about a dramatic change in the quality and diversity of the city’s after-hours offer.”
Elizabeth Murphy, who will run Bradford at Night as Evening and Night-Time Economy (ENTE) co-ordinator, said: “The aim of Bradford at Night is for all relevant sectors, businesses and organisations to work together to create a vibrant, varied and safe environment for everyone to enjoy.
“It doesn’t matter whether you run a bar, a cinema, a hotel, play in a band, serve drinks or patrol the streets – we all want the same thing for the city centre, for it to be busy, fun, safe and a great place to be, regardless of your age or gender, whether you’re on your own or with friends and family.
“We want to give residents, visitors and tourists alike a rich mixture of entertainment and leisure options in the evening and encourage to keep coming back for more!”
The organisation will be funded by membership fees but Bradford BID has secured funding to pay the first year’s fees for every business and organisation that joins, to ensure as many people as possible are engaged with the new project.
A long list of exciting projects, to be overseen and managed by Bradford at Night, is already underway, including the launch of monthly meetings for member groups for Hoteliers and Entertainment destinations and the relaunch of Pubwatch, a scheme to provide a safe, secure and responsible social-drinking environment in Bradford city centre pubs.
Planning has also begun to bring in Best Bar None, an accreditation scheme supported by the Home Office and drinks industry that aims to improve standards in the evening and night-time economy.
“One of our ultimate aims is to achieve the coveted Purple Flag status for Bradford,” said Ms Murphy. “That will be a real measure of our success and many of the projects we will be working on will all be about leading us to that point.”
Purple Flag is an accreditation process similar to the Green Flag award for parks and the Blue Flag award for beaches. It allows members of the public to quickly identify town and city centres that offer an entertaining, diverse, safe and enjoyable night out.
To achieve Purple Flag status, cities must meet or surpass rigorous and demanding standards of excellence in managing the evening and night-time economy, carrying out research as well as training and development programmes and tackling negative issues such as crime and disorder.
“We are already working on a number of training schemes, including policy and good practice, understanding how people move around the city centre at night as well as promotions and marketing important safety schemes such as Ask Angela,” said Ms Murphy.
Bradford at Night will have its own website, including resources for members, dedicated to promoting the city centre and everything that goes on within it after 5pm.
And it will also be organising events to bring people into the city centre, including a Foodie Fortnight, Live Music Weekends and Beer and Cocktails weeks.