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Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Showcasing the importance of integration and cohesion, is a locally produced documentary, that is giving the diverse District of Bradford a voice

“Diversity is the biggest strength that we have got. If you’re selling Bradford, this is a piece to make it sell” Nenna Punnu Project Support Officer for Bradford for Everyone.

Bradford for Everyone’s programme is captured on screen in a 30-minute documentary, exploring projects, people, integration and community cohesion. Image: Bradford for Everyone.

A programme that has been documented in a thirty-minute short film, is giving the people of the Bradford district a chance to share their voice.

The film provides a glimpse into the ‘Bradford for Everyone’ Integration Area pilot programme which was delivered between 2019 and 2022.

The film’s main aim is to highlight the vision, ethos, ways of working and a selection of the projects that were funded and supported by the Bradford for Everyone Programme.

Introducing the viewer to real people, organisations and communities that were positively impacted by the programme’s work, the film explores the narrative through various contributors including the Bishop of Bradford Toby Howarth, Councillor Abdul Jabar, Dr Manoj Joshi and many others.

Dr Manoj Joshi who features in the film as he has been newly appointed chairman of the Bradford Economic Partnership said:

“To be part of the Stronger Community’s Partnership was very interesting because we made a lot of contributions, to help them in developing the delivery of all the programmes.

“It is an integral part of business and economic activities to include everyone in the community in which they operate”.

The project captured the importance of integration and cohesion with the learning, and case studies of those who took part and evaluated the learning of all the participants from beginning to end.

Originally from Germany, the man behind the lens, filmmaker Pishdaad Modaressi who has been living in Bradford since 2012 opened up about the process of filming this documentary.

The filmmaker told Asian Standard:

“I know Bradford pretty well now, I’ve filmed in every postcode, also of people and most of the people I have filmed for this piece, it is probably the second time I have filmed them for something, and there’s a lot of overlap, so a lot of familiar faces”.

Pish says, “Most of it was filmed freestyle, they sent me the list of all the projects and said I had to film them all and the list was so huge, and my initial thoughts were how am I going to film them all”.

Allowing the contributors control over filming locations, he says it was more convenient for him to let them decide on the multiple location shoots, as it removed the pressure to find them and upon deciding, he would go out to meet the contributors and shoot for half an hour.

Neena Punnu Project Support Officer at Bradford for Everyone reflects on the major milestones of the project. Image: Bradford for Everyone.

“Some of the spots I chose, were in BD7 and some in Manningham that I thought of like lister Park, and an office space in BD7.

“For me as the filmmaker, my main aim was to keep Bradford for Everyone happy and just to showcase what they wanted to showcase, it was really their voice and what they wanted to highlight, in this project, I’m just the technician, I just piece together what they want to say”.

Neena Punnu Project Support Officer for Bradford for Everyone commented:

“This has been a three-year plus programme about integration and cohesion, and we’ve had a fantastic reach of 36,000 people.

“Our project has four pillars, which include tackling segregation in education, and employment, increasing social mixing and making people feel safe and within those themes, we ran 85 plus projects”.

“Our biggest strength is that we have co-produced everything that we have done, with our communities, from the minute we put our strategies together in 2018, to what we have produced at the end”.

Punnu comments how “It was really hard to showcase everything within a half-hour documentary, as we have created such innovative things, and this is just a small part of it”.

Bradford Council has helped fund the programme, as Neena says “They saw that this work is so needed because it picks up on equalities, and we want to build on stronger communities.

“It speaks volumes, that as a local authority Bradford Council has recognised how important integration and cohesion is, in order to make sure people belong and get along, ensure people have opportunities to really grow and thrive and fly”.

Giving opportunities to young people in Bradford, the programme allowed two 17-year-olds Subhan and Ayra, who joined the programme as ambassadors and got selected to sit on the Stronger Communities board, with senior, high-profile decision makers, who decide where money gets spent, were “advising them and giving their onions to make sure the voices of the young people are heard” Neena told Asian Standard.

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