The Manjit Wolstenholme Fund* has been set up in memory of Manjit Wolstenholme to support children and young people in disadvantaged areas of Bradford District to achieve their potential through educational and aspirational opportunities, reflecting Manjit’s own journey and her passionate commitment to equality and social mobility. Bradford is a city that was close to Manjit’s heart as she spent a lot of time there during her time as the Chair and Chief Executive of Provident Financial Group. She was very aware of the issues that face the city and was supportive of programmes that addressed these.
* The Fund is managed by Leeds Community Foundation
There are over 35% of children (54,614) living in poverty in Bradford (before housing costs), with Bradford West being in the top 1.5% most deprived constituencies in Britain. And the city is ranked as the 5th most deprived local authority in England. So it’s no surprise that children and young people are facing huge challenges which severely impact their social mobility and life chances.
Bradford is the “youngest” city in the UK and a designated “Opportunity Area” – it’s a young, vibrant city with a rich pool of talent to be harnessed. It has a diverse population with over a third of its population from minority ethnic backgrounds, and 153 languages spoken by children attending its schools.
It’s also the second fastest growing economy in the North, worth £10 billion, so it’s a place that people can build rewarding careers – as long as they have access to the right opportunities. More people getting good jobs will achieve greater productivity and help sustain the city’s economic growth.
Although the city is making great strides, there’s much to be done to remove the barriers that prevent children and young people from accessing education, support and opportunities, whilst tackling the low levels of aspiration reported by Headteachers, employers and other key stakeholders.
There are many people in the city who are doing great things to make this happen. The Manjit Wolstenholme Fund has been set up to enable not-for-profit organisations to continue to deliver their services at a time when there is increased evidence of need and further demand for services, against a back drop of funding cuts.