EVERY area of the district is set to play its part as the battle begins in earnest to bring the 2025 UK City of Culture crown to Bradford.

The competition to host the year-long event is underway.

And Bradford’s bid is being spearheaded by lifelong Keighley resident, Shanaz Gulzar. She is chairing the campaign.

“Bradford’s time is now,” she said.

“With the confirmation from Government that the next UK City of Culture competition has started, we have a unique opportunity to promote the distinctive qualities of this district to national audiences and to claim the title for Bradford in 2025.

“Bradford is ambitious in its thinking and hungry for success. We have the most youthful population of all cities competing for the title. We have world-class cultural organisations, a distinguished cultural history, passionate audiences and an extraordinary and progressive community of diverse artists, performers, writers and creative entrepreneurs with outstanding credentials who will help secure the designation for Bradford.

“We look forward to working with people across the district as we present our case to Government that this title rightfully belongs to us in 2025.”

A host of stars with links to the district have voiced their support for the bid.

They include Bradford-born magician Dynamo, cricketer Adil Rashid and the creative director of global fashion brand Bottega Veneta, Daniel Lee.

And the spotlight will be shone on the district’s rich cultural heritage, including the Brontes, Frederick Delius, Andrea Dunbar, David Hockney and JB Priestley.

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, leader of Bradford Council, welcomed the announcement that the competition was now properly up and running.

She said: “Bradford Council is fully committed to competing for the 2025 UK City of Culture title and backing our district’s cultural sector, which is putting in a huge amount of work to achieve this accolade.

“I want to thank Shanaz Gulzar and everyone who’s involved in continuing to work to promote the district’s bid during this really challenging time.

“Our district is young, diverse and entrepreneurial and we want to play our full part in the life of the nation – the UK City of Culture title provides a platform to do this.

“Now more than ever, as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic and look to build for the future, investing in our cultural fabric is essential.

“There can be no regeneration without culture. Our bid will form a major part of the council’s future planning and will have a large role to play in bringing together our communities, lifting our spirits and providing a boost to our economy.

“The UK City of Culture status has had a transformational impact on previous host cities, securing millions of pounds of investment and acting as a catalyst for regeneration and creative place-making.”

The bid is being managed by Bradford Culture Company, in partnership with the council and strategic bid partner the University of Bradford. For more details, visit bradford2025.co.uk.