Lee Bloomfield, MHA Chief Executive

The Chief Executive and Chair of Manningham Housing Association have expressed optimism for 2024, heralding it as a “year of renewed hope and expectation” for residents in Bradford as the city readies itself to assume the mantle of UK City of Culture in 2025.

In a collaborative New Year message, Lee Bloomfield and Rupert Pometsey acknowledged the considerable challenges posed by the aftermath of the pandemic and the ongoing cost-of-living crisis. However, they maintained that a “scent of a better future for Bradford and Keighley hangs in the air.”

They said; “The past 12 months have been incredibly difficult for individuals and families across Bradford district.

“Food and energy bills have rocketed, placing great pressure on people’s finances.

“New research from the University of Manchester recently found that the cost-of-living crisis is having a disproportionately damaging impact on older people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.

“This is something we, as a housing association with a high proportion of BAME residents, are acutely aware of and have tried to offer the best support we can.

“There can be no doubt that the people of Bradford district have been let down far too often by decision-makers in Whitehall and Westminster.

“We need many more affordable homes, better transport links and greater access to training and employment opportunities for people of all ages. These were promised through the levelling-up agenda, but little has been delivered.

“Instead, schemes such as HS2 have been cancelled with resources directed back to London and the South East.

“Despite the disappointments and multitude of challenges caused by the aftermath of the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis, we believe the scent of a better future for Bradford and Keighley hangs in the air.

“With a General Election fast approaching, 2024 can be a year of renewed hope and expectation. Politicians from all sides will be setting out their visions for a better Bradford district and, when voters make their choice, the winning candidates will be rightly held accountable for the promises they make.

“This year also sees final preparations for Bradford becoming UK City of Culture 2025 which is expected to create almost 7,000 new jobs and grow the local economy by an estimated £389 million.

“It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the district and we are confident that local residents, businesses, voluntary groups and community-based organisations such as Manningham Housing Association will grab it with both hands.”