The Church of England has awarded £4.2m to target key churches in Bradford.
The money will go towards at least ten churches within the Bradford Episcopal Area, including urban pockets described as “tough” by the diocese.
One such place of worship, Fountains Church, was formerly a nightclub. The investment means building work can continue ahead of Bradford’s 2025 City of Culture celebrations, during which the building will be used for a number of events.
According to the government’s levelling-up agenda, Bradford is the city in the UK with the most desperate need for investment.
As the largest metropolitan district in England, the city is home to a fifth of the Leeds Diocese population.
The Rt Rev Dr Toby Howarth, Bishop of Bradford in the Anglican Diocese of Leeds said:
“We are grateful that the Church Commissioners recognise the potential for growing Christ’s church across the Bradford District. This money enables parishes with strong worshipping communities to give even more support to neighbouring churches in their outreach and service.
“This grant will benefit some of Bradford’s most challenged neighbourhoods, and will also enable the completion of building works at our new Fountains Church in the heart of the city - ready for it to play a central part in City of Culture 2025.”
The diocese also plans to turn the church into a hub for city-wide youth work. The project is led by Rev Linda Maslen. She said: “I am so delighted by further investment in our beautiful city. This means we will be able to conclude the physical work on our building, contributing to the development of the West End, and also to continue to focus on the mission and ministry to the communities we serve.”