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Bradford Bids To Become Unicef 'Child Friendly' City

It's joining six cities and communities across the UK also working towards the status.

Bradford “hasn’t always been very good” at prioritising children, the Council leader has claimed.

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe was discussing a bid by Bradford to become a Unicef “child friendly” city when she stressed the importance of improving how young people are supported in the District.

Earlier this month Bradford Council announced that it was bidding to become a child friendly city, joining six cities and communities across the UK who are also working towards the status.

The status requires Councils, health bodies and other services to make sure the voices, needs, priorities and rights of children are made an integral part of public policies, programmes and decisions.

On Tuesday the bid was discussed at a meeting of the Bradford and Airedale Health and Wellbeing Board, made up of representatives from the Council, emergency services, the charity sector, housing groups and health bodies.

They heard that it could take up to five years for Bradford to become fully accredited.

The cost of applying will be around £150,000 a year, with the Council providing £100,000 of this.

Mark Douglas, head of Children’s Services, said: “Bradford is the youngest city in the UK. One in three people in the district are under the age of 18.

“We already consider children in a lot of our policies, but this status will require us to look differently at how we develop and deliver services across the district. It will require us to put children at the centre of our thinking.

“What does it mean to be a child friendly city? Children will be central to everything we plan and deliver. We want a district where our children will flourish.

“It will be a partnership – it is not something we can do on our own.”

Unicef only invited applications from a small number of local authorities, members were told.

In 2018 Bradford Council’s Children’s Services Department was given an Inadequate rating by Ofsted, with the authority urged to drastically improve.

At the meeting, held in City Hall, Cllr Hinchcliffe said: “I’m quite excited by this initiative. It will take a while but there is the right intent behind it.

“The reason we are doing this is that we haven’t always been very good at putting children a major part of what we do. The Ofsted judgement was an example of that.

“This is a way of us getting children at the heart of what we do as a District.”

Chief Executive of the Council Kersten England said: “We will not be starting from zero – Bradford is already in a strong place with schemes like Born In Bradford and Better Start Bradford.”

Even if Bradford did not gain the Unicef status, the work done to prepare for it would still benefit the young people of the district – the committee was told.

Under the scheme the Council would have to consider young people when considering transport infrastructure and living spaces, with more safe spaces and recreational spaces.

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