Thursday, 5 January 2017

Middle-aged misery or pragmatic observer?

We all know that Bradford's an exciting and diverse city, full of challenges with a young population.
For the past 18 years I've loved getting stuck into a lot of what it has to offer.
But I'm no longer young.
I have less energy and admittedly I feel a bit jaded by years of hard work in the city.
Visiting the City centre now requires a massive effort of emotional energy. It's dirty and run down and I don't want a trip out that makes me feel miserable; I want to feel that I've had a 'nice' morning or afternoon out.
Much of current thinking, and therefore the council's emphasis, is about 'offerings' and 'destinations' and to be fair, where possible they've done their best to encourage start-ups and new business.
(I should say here, that in terms of the actual shops, I've never had any trouble finding what I wanted in Bradford, Broadway or no Broadway.)
But the point is that at a time in my life when I have more time and more money, the idea of dragging myself through the vile traffic or waiting for a grubby train (don't even mention buses) fills me with dread.
I no longer like going into town!
It's just where I find myself at this time in my life and most of my peer group feel the same. We feel discouraged (we're no longer young), dispirited (we don't really connect with new bars, or a massive Superdry), tired (we've given our best years in the hope of change) and now we're choosing to spend our money elsewhere.
And on top of this major lack of spend, our children, who are now young adults in their first jobs, don't connect with their hometown as well as the youth of other cities because while they were finding their younger feet, Bradford had so little to offer them that they found other places to go.
So folks, my conclusion is: If you're looking to see young people out enjoying themselves in their home town again and their parents spending their spare dosh in Debenhams, Sunbridgewells etc, be prepared for a long wait ... I'd suggest at least one more generation, and with the looming nightmare of Brexit, maybe two.

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