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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

From New York to West Yorkshire: An American school bus transformed into library for kids in Bradford to enjoy

The school bus travelled over 3,000 miles to be transformed into a magical reading space for Bradford kids.

A vehicle most of us would only see in the movies, a fully working school bus has been flown over from the United States to Bradford and has been kitted out as a functioning mobile library for children across the District to enjoy.

EnKahnz and Bradford Stories have joined forces to transform a bright yellow American school bus into a mobile literacy space for communities across Bradford.

Travelling more than 3,000 miles from New York, the Bradford Stories bus will bring the magic of storytelling to life for children and young people across the city and promote the importance of reading for pleasure.

Automotive artist Naveed Barugzai Khan, of EnKahnz had only five days to transform the vehicle into a working mobile library.

The idea to transform this American staple comes from the National Literacy Trust under the Connecting Stories programme, funded by Arts Council England.

Connecting Stories is a project that aims to increase children and young people’s access to literary experiences and books in communities most in need of support.

Launched in January of this year, it addresses the literacy attainment gap across the National Literacy Trust’s 14 Hub areas with the support of 26 publishers.

The renovation project was a true community effort bringing together experts from across the city. Naveed Barugzai Khan, founder of EnKahnz vehicle restoration and car customisation, impressively completed the renovation project within five days.

He painted the faded bonnet, updated the grill and metalwork bumpers, before refurbishing the wheels and polishing the overall exterior.

The inside of the bus was transformed into a functional library and storytelling space by Shred and Butta, a company from Surrey that creates custom creative interior designs for all types of spaces, who added bookshelves, a magical archway and hardwood flooring.

Kids from across Bradford are already enjoying the custom bus.

Its exterior was completed with beautiful murals, designed by local artist Naureen Khawaja, that capture different generations’ backgrounds, experiences, traditions, and values across the city.

Mr Khan recorded a vlog showing the restoration journey from start to finish, ending with the launch and inaugural journey of the bus from 23 October to 27 October.

The bus travelled from City Park to Victoria Shopping Centre, Lady Hill Park, Attock Park, Parkside Community Centre, Wibsey Park, Bradford Moor Park, West Park and T.F.D Youth Club, and had guest appearances from the likes of poet and storyteller Dommy B and Bradford-born author Sairish Hussain.

Mr Khan, of EnKahnz, said: “It’s really important that we can give back to the community and inspire the youth for their tomorrow. The Bradford Stories bus has been a great project to get involved in for a good cause, promoting literacy and reading.

Imran Hafeez, Hub Manager at Bradford Stories, gave a reading at the official launch.

“It’s not the kind of vehicle we would usually work on but when I met the Bradford Stories team and learned about their vision, I just had to take on the challenge.

“It was a pleasure and I hope to continue to stay involved through being on the bus and delivering inspirational talks.”

Naz Shah, MP for Bradford West, said: “Good literacy skills help create social mobility and the foundations of this can be found through homes where books and stories are shared with children.

“Once again Bradford Business is leading the way in helping our communities to be the best they can be.

“The Bradford Stories bus is such a wonderful gift to give back to our children after the difficulties faced in recent times. A huge well done to the team at Bradford Stories and EnKahnz for making this happen. I look forward to seeing it around Bradford.”

Supported by partners including Bradford 2025, 50 Things to do before 5, EnKahnz, My Lahore, Bradford Council, Friends of Bradford Moor Park and Arts Council England, the Bradford Stories Bus builds the literacy hub’s community-level partnerships with local businesses and artists to inspire school pupils and young people.

For more information about Bradford Stories, visit here. For more information about Connecting Stories, visit here.

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