Bradford Community Champions

Bradford Community Champions

Bradford Community Champions are a team of diverse and very carefully selected individuals. They come from non-privileged backgrounds and some have experienced their own difficulties and hurdles in life. I have spent the last fifteen years as a serving magistrate in both Adult and Youth Court and also been heavily involved with the Youth Charity JAMES. Over the years I have seen hundreds of children and young adults in every situation possible.

Some from mainstream school, some that have been excluded, children with one parent, no parents, same sex parents, parents who are working, not working, problems with drugs, alcohol and a whole spectrum of mental health issues in both youths and adults. In addition, the ‘Looked After’ children in homes and in the care of the local authority, children with stable lives and those living in such horrendous situations you couldn’t possible imagine.

However, every single one of them had something in common! With the right direction and support, they all had the potential to succeed at something, to some degree or other. I have never in all my years as a magistrate seen one child and thought that they were a lost cause.

In our mainstream schools some pupils seem to breeze through. They turn up, listen, take part, complete homework, pass exams and leave equipped to go on to better things. And then there are those students who struggle and have a very different view of school life altogether. Whether it be through immaturity, lack of self-esteem, little or no family support, motivation or just the general inability to grasp the importance of what is on offer.

Often, with that kind of attitude comes disruption and disrespect in the classroom, ending in total frustration and hours of wasted time. The teachers who have prepared and planned specific lessons are sometimes almost considered a nuisance or perhaps someone there to spoil their social interaction. And instead of teaching, can end up policing a class, which then has a knock on effect on those students who do grasp the point of education and want to learn.

Our aim, is solely to support the school and the teachers. We all understand and appreciate what a difficult and stressful profession teaching can be. When a team member is invited into a school they will talk about their own journeys but also endeavour to Inspire, Encourage and Motivate their audience. We would like to try and change the attitude and the way some students feel about education in general.

Sometimes it can be as late as year 11 before reality sets in and they realise what opportunities they have missed. And they have nothing to carry forward in their ‘Educational Bank Account’.

By that I mean, that every bit of effort and knowledge they retain now, is almost like banking invisible money. And without realising it, they are already preparing and contributing to this ‘Educational Bank Account’ which will pay dividends at a later date. This will give them something to offer and enable them to have choices in life. In addition it will prepare them to stand on their own two feet, take care of their families and feel like a worthwhile member of society.

Sometimes on the last day of school, after the initial euphoria comes deep disappointment, huge self-esteem issues, panic and then…what now?

Furthermore, if our team members can help just some of these young people, to see the connection between, the value, effort and hard work they put in today and the opportunities that will open on leaving school with a full ‘Educational Bank Account’.

And finally we would like them to understand and appreciate the teachers because they are in fact the gateway to a happy and successful future.

Our Community Champions

Adeeba Malik - QED Deputy Cheif Executive

Adeeba manages a number of social, educational and economic projects. She has extensive experience of working with public, private and third sector organisations on equality and diversity projects. She also has led projects in Pakistan in particular pre departure programmes.

Amen Dhesi - IMAGINE Bradford Director

Amen Dhesi has evolved into a global activist. His most accomplished achievement being recently accepted to attend the Youth of United Nations international conference in Tanzania.

Amerjeat Sarai - Education Partnerships Lead Officer

Amer has worked for Bradford Council since 1991 in roles that partner all members of the Community. 

Anne Newton - Costing & Data Modelling Analyst

Anne has worked as a graduate research chemist in the pharmaceutical industry and microbiologist in the water industry.

Catherine Hankinson - Assistant Chief Constable

Catherine has been a police officer for 22 years and has only recently taken up post as ACC in West Yorkshire.  Prior to that she served with Greater Manchester Police in a variety of roles and areas of policing.

Cathy Prior - Social Impact Programme – Education Lead, Provident Financial Group 

I come from a working class background, born and bred in Bradford. Dad was in the wool trade, Mum worked part-time evenings at Provident. I grew up in a typical terraced house in Clayton, where my Mum still lives. We didn’t have much money, but we had a little backyard and we got by!

Christian Storey  British Army Officer 

‘Born and Bred’ in Bradford, Christian attended St Bede’s Grammar School, leaving school after completing his GCSEs in 2001. He did not continue onto A Levels as at that time he had “no intention of going to university”, and instead completed a four-year Mechanical Engineering Apprenticeship.  

David Pearson - Deputy Lieutenant

David had a company, providing  training services to banks and businesses in banking and finance related subjects.  He worked delivering for larger providers such as the Financial Times, various UK universities and professional bodies.

David Wilford - Managing Director 

Born on Broadstone Way Holme Wood, David went to school locally, Dudley Hill Primary, Highfield Middle and Fairfax High Schools. Left school at 16 went into textiles, moved to London, has had a number of different roles has travelled the world, moved back to his hometown of Bradford to make a difference has always inspired others to achieve their full potential.

Dee Collins - Chief Constable

In 2013, Dee was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal for her contribution towards British Policing as well as the Annual Award for Mentoring by the British Association of Women in Policing (BAWP) of which she is currently President, and International Association of Women in Policing (IAWP).

Faiza Ali- Magistrate/Barrister  

My passion is to encourage people to educate themselves. The focus is to raise awareness on; importance of education in society, children, our lives, women and all adults.

Gill Arnold - JP Deupty Chairman of the West Yorkshire Magistrates' Bench. Founder of Bradford Community Champions

Gill is on the board of trustees/directors at GDPA (Global Diversity Positive Action) which is a registered charity.  Its main mission is to empower people to break the cycle of re-offending- in partnership with Microsoft.

HH Judge Jonathan Rose

"Commitment, determination, conscientiousness and the ability to meet and overcome hurdles are the keys to success."

Indy Sagu - Music Producer

Inderpal Singh Sagu, better known by his stage name Indy Sagu is a renowned multi award winning music producer and creative director.

Jamaal Mahmood - Sales Executive

Jamaal has two young children and before work commitments increased took part as a Parent Governor within their school. Change will happen and being prepared for change is key to a happy working life.

Jasbir Athwal - Deputy Lieutenant

Jasbir Athwal is a driven and enthused business consultant who is keen to help businesses of all sizes reach their potential by providing strategic advice and practical solutions.

Katie Miller -  UK & EU Student Recruitment Manager – University of Bradford

Katie has worked at the University of Bradford since 2013, initially in the careers department but now manages the UK and EU Student Recruitment Team. This role enables Katie to champion strategies linked to raising aspirations and promoting higher education across the UK and Europe, a significant part of Katie’s role also involves working to reduce gaps between those most, and least, represented in higher education

Kelly Deegan - Barclays Team Support Manager

Kelly focuses on progressing her career and developing her knowledge within the banking sector.

Mark Burns-Williamson -OBE West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner

Mark was born in Castleford and started his working life as an apprentice stonemason working for Wakefield County Council, whilst also studying civil engineering at Leeds Building College.  During the 1980s he was also Shop Steward for building union UCATT representing 200 worker

Mark Cowgill - Co-Founder & Director, Exa Networks

Mark has around 20 years’ experience in the ISP sector; Mark was a member of the BID Development Board and is currently a member of Bradford Breakthrough, and on the Leadership Group for the Chamber of Commerce.

Martin Fleming - Coroner

A Coronial appointment is a great privilege and a role Martin takes most seriously. Key to his position is developing strong, lasting relationships with the local community.

Nirmal Singh - Property Development

Nirmal Singh is best known locally, regionally and nationally as the manufacturer of quilts through his former business, Nirmal Razai Mart & Company Ltd which he started a few years after he came from India with £3 to his credit.

Paul Broomhead - Ex-Fireman and JP

Paul has always been driven by the desire to work and achieve and a firm believer in self- discipline, believing that all people need a role model or preferably several to succeed.  Some of his role models he has never met, often people he has admired through the media.

Rad Miller - Film Maker

Rad is a Bradford born and now Leeds based professional freelance director of documentaries, short films, music & arts videos that celebrate youth talent and highlight the social concerns of young people.

Raj Kumar - Solicitor

Raj was born in India on 21/11/1961,he grew up near Bombay (Mumbai), then moved to Delhi when he was around 13 years old.  Raj came to England when he was around 15 years of age in 1975.

Richard Anderson - Teacher and JP

In 2008, Richard was appointed as a magistrate on the Bradford and Keighley bench and is continuing to serve the Bradford community.

Sabbiyah Pervez- Community Reporter BBC look North

One of six girls; faced cultural barriers; passionate feminist and advocate for young people 

Sharon Jandu - Microsoft Manager

Sharon is currently one of the Directors of TechATP, a Microsoft Education Partner, she used to work for Microsoft and prior to that she was with Santander establishing the fast growth SME accelerator programme called Breakthrough.

Simmy Sekhon - Solicitor

Simmy Sekhon is a dynamic lawyer turned property entrepreneur who initially started as a sole practitioner solicitor trading as Sekhon Firth Solicitors and within 5 years grew the practice to some 140 staff. Simmy sold the practice in 2010 to concentrate on Commercial Property Development and has been growing the portfolio extensively.

Simon Robert Atkin - Ex-Chief Superintendent

Simon’s leadership in progressing a policing style to enhance community cohesion was severely challenged in a District where numerous protests have been successfully managed whist also meeting the challenges of austerity

Simon Hinchcliffe - Headmaster, Bradford Grammar

Simon started work at Bradford Grammar School in September 2014 as the Deputy Head and became the Headmaster in January 2016. Before that he worked at Wolverhampton Grammar School, starting in 2000, his first teaching job.

Simrit Bharaj - Primary Teacher Author Illustrator Writer

Simrit is a creative, diverse and committed teacher who has lived in Bradford most of her life. Bradford-born, Simrit has faced adversity but overcome obstacles using determination and ambition. A strong believer in ‘making your own destiny’, Simrit has stayed focused and made successful careers for herself even when faced with difficulties.

Steph Booth- Writer and Journalist 

Steph has lectured both in the UK and the Czech Republic. She also taught English for three years in secondary schools.,  Was a writer for the Irsih Times and , was the first person to go to University from her family who were originally Manchester Irish . Wealth of Knowledge and very much about supporting others.  

Tahir Khan - QC

In 2011, Tahir was appointed one of Her Majesty’s Counsel (Queen’s Counsel) and since then, his practice has been almost exclusively in prosecuting and defending cases of the utmost complexity and seriousness. These include murder, complex fraud and terrorism cases.

Tasif Khan - World Champion Boxer

Tasif Khan has always been supporting young disengaged people from the local community to become better individuals through the discipline and self-control that is nurtured through boxing.

Tanya Wilkins- Temporary Chief Inspector - West Yorkshire Police 

Tanya Wilkins joined West Yorkshire Police as a Police Officer in March 2001.  She is a Temporary Chief Inspector leading on Positive Action for the Force, she has worked in CID Safegurading Traffic and Firearms, She is a Tactical Firearms Commander and Public Order Commander.

Yunus Mayat - IT Specialist- Council

Yunus has worked for Bradford Council for the last 13 years in the Information, Communication and Technology Department, for the council and whilst seconded to IBM and Serco under the Strategic IT Partnership from 2005 – 2015, delivering IT Services to Bradford Council.

Zaf Shah - PhD scholar at the University of Bradford

Zaf was born and raised in Lidget Green, Bradford. Zaf’s father was a mill worker and his mother is a housewife, who is now widowed. Zaf comes from a family of 6, 4 brothers and two sisters. Zafs family was a typical working class family living in the inner city of Bradford.



Please note we are waiting for other profiles to be added...

Dame Naila Zaffar

Lt Col Mark Hunter

Ahmed Amjad Ali Consil General of Pakistan


If you wish to book a Bradford Community Champion to visit your school please email Mick Chandsoor at




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