Leading social entrepreneur joins the Bradford Live team (press release)

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Bradford Live, the ambitious regeneration project to transform the city’s landmark Odeon cinema into a world-class music, entertainment and events venue, has appointed Bradford-born peer and social entrepreneur Lord Andrew Mawson as its Patron.

In partnership with the NEC Group and Bradford Council, Bradford Live will transform the derelict former cinema into a commercially viable and sustainable 4,000 capacity venue, which is due to open in autumn 2020.  The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has provided a grant of £4m from the Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund to support this ground-breaking project.

Bradford Live is a not-for-profit distribution social enterprise, formed in 2012 to find a long term viable use for the former Odeon building which has been derelict since 2000. Its aims are to facilitate live music, entertainment, production, exhibition, cultural and artistic events for the public benefit and provide for social and community participation. 100% of its surplus will be reinvested to provide additional social value.

Bradford Live is working in conjunction with Bradford Council and the NEC Group (the UK’s leading live events business which hosts over 750 events and 7 million visitors a year) to deliver and run the scheme. This strong collaborative approach, locally led with a respected industry-leading national partner, is a fantastic example of a public/private/third sector ‘powerful partnership’, working in synergy to re-vitalise an existing asset for modern 21st century use.

Cross-bench peer Andrew Mawson OBE has over 35 years’ experience as a social entrepreneur and innovator.  He founded the Bromley by Bow Centre in east London to tackle the many issues which affect health and wellbeing, creating a national blueprint for building a healthy, vibrant local community.  

Andrew is also co-founder of the St Paul’s Way Science Summer School, together with Professor Brian Cox, and a leading advocate for generating education and employment opportunities for young people. He and colleagues, with the architect Lord Richard Rogers, wrote the first document proposing the East London Olympics and he was involved with this landmark development for 19 years.  Andrew was a Director of the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), and chaired its Community Partnerships and Regeneration Committee for 10 years.

In 2015 he became Executive Chairman of Well North, which is using enterprise, creativity and innovation to deliver better health and wellbeing in ten towns and cities across the north of England, including Bradford.  

Bradford Live and Well North share many of the same goals, including improving community wellbeing through regeneration, education, employment and culture.  A key priority is to work together to deliver work experience, skills development and jobs in the city, particularly for young people.

“As a local lad, I’m absolutely thrilled to appointed as the Patron of Bradford Live,” said Andrew Mawson.  “There is so much synergy between Well North and Bradford Live and part of my role will be to make links with some of the transformational projects already happening in Bradford – including the inspiring new Girlington health, education and enterprise campus.

“It’s all about building networks and partnerships and taking small practical steps together that people can touch and see makes a difference. The redevelopment of the Odeon, if we join the dots and connect it to local communities across Bradford, will be an important generator of jobs and skills in the city.”

Lee Craven, Director of Bradford Live, said, “We’re delighted to welcome Andrew Mawson as our Patron. He brings a wealth of experience and proven success in the field of public/private partnerships, and will infuse this knowledge into the Bradford Live team. We’re looking forward to working with him.”


Notes for editors

Bradford Live will transform the former Odeon cinema, an iconic landmark in central Bradford, into a commercially viable and sustainable, professionally-run 4,000 capacity world-class live music and performance venue, rejuvenating the city and re-kindling civic pride. http://www.bradfordlive.co.uk/

Well North is creating a movement to unleash healthy communities across the North of England. Starting in ten places, we are inspiring change by backing real people and local ideas. Well North is a strategic collaboration between Public Health England, The University of Manchester, Health Innovation Manchester and a number of local authorities, NHS and other organisations across the North of England. www.wellnorth.co.uk

For further information/interviews please contact:

  • Bradford Live –Lee Craven tel: 07957 845211
  • Andrew Mawson/Well North – Jill Hulme tel: 07913 278514