Pretty much every lunchtime since I started work at Bradford University, I have announced to my colleagues that I’m heading out and that I’m on A Mission. That Mission, I tell them is to seek out Interesting Stuff in and around the city.
To begin with, I was being facetious. I mean, coming from Leeds, the city which for the last century at least has regarded itself as the bigger, better neighbour, I felt I’d struggle to find any Interesting Stuff within walking distance of the office.
Investment in Bradford has been over-promised and under-delivered and progress is sluggish. The site of the Westfield shopping mall is still a sight for sore eyes, though work is slated to start soon.The City Park, a fantastic urban landscape outside City Hall with Geneva-style water spout has been delayed again and again.
The city is suffering from this recession, the last recession and the recession before it. Media treatment is sly, with snide remarks about Dark Satanic Mills, with much emphasis on Satanic. Memories of riots, fights and racial tensions are long and really ought to have been forgotten, that’s not what the city is like any more. And to be honest, I’m just fed up of hearing folk moan about it, especially myself. I do tend to suffer from terminal optimism, stubbornly determined to see the best in everything, and as I’ll be at the university for some months yet with many lunchtimes to fill, I’ve decided to take my mission very seriously and make it into a campaign.
So on today’s Mission Walk, as I surveyed the rather impressive sculptures and newly-planted trees at City Park, I came up with another One Woman Campaign (my last one was to ban plastic carrier bags, I’ve been a recycled bag woman ever since – no snigggers, please). Good for Bradford is my own ‘I’m-not-going-to-moan-about-Bradford-any-more’ campaign, highlighting Interesting Stuff seen and heard on my Mission Walks. Watch this space.