Bradford Literature Festival (BLF) is committed to using the power of literature to strengthen communities and bring people from all walks of life together. Over the past five years, the festival has grown from a 2-day event, attracting just 968 visitors, to a 10-day festival boasting over 500 events across multiple venues in Bradford, attracting over 70,000 visitors. 51 per cent of the festival’s audience are from BAME backgrounds, a reflection of the inclusive nature of the programme.
As part of the programme, BLF runs projects focusing on raising aspirations and literacy levels in disadvantaged communities. Some of this year’s projects are supported by the Home Office’s ‘Building A Stronger Britain Together’ fund (BSBT). The funding has allowed us to do important work with women’s community groups. This has been hugely valued by the groups themselves, and has received appreciative feedback from participants and community leaders.
As a South Asian, Muslim-led organisation, BLF is entirely conscious of the opinion some parts of the Muslim community hold about the BSBT programme – and whilst we acknowledge and value the perspective and opinion, it isn’t one, on this matter, that we share. We regret that the support offered by BSBT to these specific projects has led to a number of speakers withdrawing from the festival programme.
BLF offers a platform for a broad spectrum of opinions, and encourages healthy debate on issues of our time. Our door is always open to working with these speakers in the future and we wish them well.
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