Hope not hate Bradford have organised City Centre celebrations of Bradford, its cultures and all its glorious rainbow of people from across the world for the last two years.  This year we plan to have our biggest event yet in an event that will cover Centenary Square and City Park.

The idea for bringing Bradfordians of all backgrounds together is simple; free food and entertainment from all our communities as well as free activities and games for the children.  What’s not to like?  But to bring this vision to some of the outlying estates takes more than a free onion bhaji.  We want all communities to feel that they own the event and that means we have to do some out-reach and build some trust.

So that is why last Saturday we held our first event in Buttershaw, based at the wonderful Sandale Centre, a real example of what a community centre should be.  Buttershaw is probably best known for featuring in Rita, Sue and Bob Too, the film based on the plays of the phenomenal local writer Andrea Dunbar.  The comedy runs along the darkness in Dunbar’s writing but decades on, this area is still deprived and at times both the BNP and UKIP have been able to tap into people’s fears to win votes.

Hope not hate Bradford believes that any celebration of Bradford and its communities has to place communities such as Buttershaw at its heart.  Mutual congratulation from social liberals is not what will bring communities ravaged by de-industrialisation and savage austerity together.

To hold a successful event in a place like Buttershaw requires local support and know how.  We cannot over-emphasise our gratitude and admiration for all the workers and volunteers at Sandale and it is appropriate to give a shout out to Shannon who did brilliant work on the event. Thanks also to local MP Judith Cummins for supporting the event.

The event itself went to plan.  The sun even came out much to everyone’s surprise, children played while the adults moved around the various food stalls.  Without doubt, and not withstanding Andy’s barbecue skills, the star attraction on the food front was cooked by Syrian refugees. Their culture enriches our city and it was a real delight to have them at the event.  The sight of Buttershaw residents chatting away with them, exploring the food and drinking Kurdish tea showed Bradford coming Together.

This year’s city centre event will be on Saturday June 16th.  Come down, bring the kids and enjoy and celebrate Bradford’s magnificent cultures and people.

Report by Paul Meszaros, Bradford Organiser