Bradford One: Past, Present and Future

The foundations of Bradford One were laid long before its official inception in November 2012, in a public campaign to save the Odeon from demolition.

With this in mind, we would first of all like to thank the most important people in the Odeon’s history – the unsung heroes among our members who played a huge part in first of all saving the Odeon from demolition and then supporting and inspiring Bradford One.

Some of the first people to join Bradford One were those who had organised and taken part in protest activity from as early as 2009. Events such as ‘Eyes on the Odeon’, at the opening of City Park in March 2012, the ‘Alternative Christmas Switch-on’ and ‘Get Well Soon Victoria’, would not have happened without the imagination, energy and commitment of members.

They are the foundation of our organisation and without their groundwork we would never have got so far.

We would also like to thank numerous local businesses and organisations that helped us along the way, including Bradford College, Forster’s Bistro, The Local Leader, All About Bradford, the Bradford Civic Society, Hidden Bradford, Lady Royd Primary School, and Prashad Restaurant.

Their support and encouragement convinced us that our plans for the Odeon were about so much more than saving the building.

This was more than just a venue; it was a symbol of the civic pride, cooperation and community spirit so typical of Bradford.

Thanks also to all the experts and professionals who helped us develop what we believe was a viable and sustainable way forward for the building: Adam Clark and Nick Pearce from architects Halliday Clark, Todd Hannula and Cassandra Tongue from Shine Concepts, Mark Brearley of Mark Brearley Associates, Stephen Brigg from Michael Eyres Partnership, Anna Franks from Anna Franks Marketing, and lastly our mentor and friend Hugh Rolo of Locality whose guiding hand has been invaluable throughout the journey.

Thanks also to the Concert Promoters Association, representing all the major concert promoters, the Musicians Union and the many agents and representatives of the music industry who provided us with letters of support and so enthusiastically encouraged us to develop what would have been the North’s largest independent music venue.

For some members the important thing was to save the building, whilst for others it was to create something truly innovative – a community-owned, independent venue that would give people a sense of pride in their city centre.

We can’t imagine many places where 500 strangers would come together to create something of this scale in their city and that is something of which everyone should be proud. Of course online campaigns and social media also played a massive part in creating this opportunity and we thank everyone for their messages of support and encouragement.

In less than two years Bradford One grew from an anti-demolition campaign to become a legal entity, launched with the help of Griff Rhys Jones and Civic Voice, growing a membership of 500 and raising in excess of £100,000 from national funding bodies, enabling us to put together a formidable project team and create a plan for the Odeon that had overwhelming public support and of which we will always be proud – a £15m independent music venue, publicly owned and with all profits reinvested in the city.

Since the beginning we have consistently listened to and acted on behalf of our members, doing everything possible to reflect their wishes and serve their overwhelming interest in finding a sustainable future for the Odeon.

This has included exploring how we might work together with other bidders and trying to get better answers about our eventual exclusion from the selection process. Of course we share members’ disappointment at the outcome but we hope that this reminder of the journey we have taken together allows us all some pride in our collective achievements.

Having come so far and having achieved so much it would be a terrible waste to think that this is the only thing that our members could collectively achieve.

This is why, when Bradford One was established, our objects were described as: “to carry on any business for the benefit of the community by the provision of facilities to develop artistic, cultural, educational and entrepreneurial opportunities within the City of Bradford”.

Amongst our members we have the knowledge, skills and experience to make a continuing contribution to the city and, in doing so, making a statement about the character of the people of Bradford.

We will therefore be consulting with members and the wider community about their priorities for the future and exploring how we can continue to play a role in achieving those aims.

In the meantime work to redevelop the Odeon continues.

This much loved building was the catalyst for our formation and we continue to care very much about its future.

We will follow developments with enthusiastic interest and continue to support efforts to secure it a sustainable future as a live music venue.

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Bradford One August 29, 2014 Blog, Featured, Latest News