A BID is being launched to gain ‘child friendly’ status for the district.

Keighley councillor Adrian Farley, Bradford Council’s portfolio holder for children and families, said the move would put young people “at the heart of our community and decision making”.

The council has agreed with partner organisations to work towards securing the UNICEF Child Friendly City and Community status.

Benefits of a successful bid would include improved services for children, more ‘safe spaces’ and recreational areas, a greater voice for youngsters and effective use of resources by focussing on root causes of problems such as poor educational attainment, childhood health problems and poverty.

The process of becoming a Child Friendly City and Community takes between three and five years.

A key expectation from UNICEF is evidence of strong leadership and partnership working between organisations delivering children’s services.

The council says evidence from more than two decades indicates that gaining the status can “dramatically improve” outcomes for children and young people.

Councillor Farley said: “Our district is one of the youngest and most diverse in Britain.

“Around one third of our population is under the age of 18, so we want our district to be recognised as a champion of children’s rights – demonstrating to everyone that children and young people are integral to the life, health and wellbeing of the whole community.

“We know this is just the start of the process and that getting on the programme is not guaranteed, but gaining Child Friendly City and Community status will support our ambition to listen to the voices of children and young people. It will mean that we put them at the heart of our community and decision-making.”

Backing has been voiced by John Devlin, an executive principal and the chairman of Keighley Schools Together.

In a statement issued with Tehmina Hashmi, of Bradford Academy, he said: “We know there are many positive initiatives supporting children and young people across our district and schools play a core role in these. Working towards gaining Child Friendly City and Community status will be a brilliant way of bringing these together.”