Bishop Toby to help confront some of Bradford's serious social issues

Addressing the roots of extremist views in Bradford is one of the tasks now facing Bishop of Bradford, Rt Revd Toby Howarth, who is to head the district’s Stronger Communities Partnership Board.

The Board is a partnership between strategic leaders, the voluntary, private and faith sectors and local people who live in Bradford.

Its aim is to foster social harmony in education, employment and other areas - and also to work against negative radicalisation.

It will also work towards the council-backed vision of a district where people "Get Along, Get Involved, Get On and Feel Safe."

Bishop Toby, selected after an open invitation for applications and a rigorous interview process, will start his role this month.

Quoted in the Yorkshire Post regarding radicalism, Bishop Toby said: “I’m really proud of Bradford for being able to encourage that work to happen, even when there are some voices saying you cannot touch that with a barge pole.

“That’s not directly our work, what we’re trying to do is chip away at some of the things around the edges that cause people to get into that."

He said: "Bradford has developed an impressive programme of work in response to the Government’s national integration strategy.

"I count it a privilege to have been chosen to chair the Board which will oversee this work, supported by able colleagues from the council with a range of organisations and groups from across the district."

The Stronger Communities strategy is designed to increase opportunities for people from different backgrounds to mix together, increase their mutual understanding and respect, and to remove social barriers that prevent people from taking full advantage of the opportunities available to them.

Steve Hartley, Bradford Council Strategic Director of Place, said: "We had some great applications for the role and it’s fantastic that people with real skills and depth of experience want to freely give their time to lead this important partnership.

"Bishop Toby has tremendous respect locally and nationally and will be a wonderful leader and facilitator as the Partnership looks to deliver its ambitious strategy.”

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