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 possibly 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, it 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 endeavor 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 realizing 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 - CBE Deputy Chief Executive
Adeeba manages a number of social, educational and economic projects. She has extensive experience of working with public, private and third sector organizations on equality and diversity projects. She also has led projects in Pakistan in particular pre-departure
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 - Technical Analyst at Yorkshire Water
Anne has worked as a graduate research chemist in the pharmaceutical industry and microbiologist in the water industry.
Ann-Marie Keighley - Marketing Manager at Schofield Sweeney
Whilst at college I worked part time in restaurants, take-aways even an Ice cream kiosk.
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 the Greater Manchester Police in a variety of roles and areas of policing.
- Education Lead at 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!
‘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 Coupe - Senior Partner EC3 Legal LLP
Born in the early 60’s into the mining area of Wigan in Lancashire.
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 at Ysustain Limited
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 have traveled the world, moved back
to his hometown of Bradford to make a difference has always inspired others to achieve their full potential.
Emma Smail - Head of Academy at CCS Media
After spending many years selling I started working with the Academy, working with young people coaching them to how to sell and become Account Managers. After a couple of years doing this, I progressed to become the Head of Academy
Faiza Ali- Magistrate/Barrister
My passion is to encourage people to educate themselves. The focus is to raise awareness on; the importance of education in society, children, our lives, women and all adults.
Gill Arnold - JP DL, Founder of Bradford Community Champions. Deputy Chairman of the West Yorkshire Magistrates' Bench & Vice Chairman Carlton Bolling MAT.
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.
Graham Sweeney - Chief Operating Officer at Schofield Sweeney Solicitors
Currently the Chief Operating Officer at Schofield Sweeney Solicitors with overall responsibility for IT, Marketing, HR and pretty much anything else that is not legal work.
"Commitment, determination, conscientiousness and the ability to meet and overcome hurdles are the keys to success."
Mr Ibrar Hussain Khan is the Consul General of Pakistan, Bradford.
Inderpal Singh Sagu, better known by his stage name Indy Sagu is a renowned multi-award-winning music producer and creative director.
Jamaal has two young children and before work commitments increased took part as a Parent Governor within their school. The change will happen and being prepared for change is key to a happy working life.
James Hardy - Managing Director at CCS Media
James Hardy is the Managing Director for CCS Media Limited.
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.
- UK & EU Student Recruitment Manager at 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.
Kiel Townend - General Sales Manager at CCS Media
Kiel grew up in Eccleshill and after leaving school without a real idea of career he joined Shipley College completing a GNVQ in Leisure and Tourism with the thought of maybe becoming a PE teacher.
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
- Co-Founder & Director at 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.
- Strategic Director Children’s Services City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council
Mark Douglas has been in post as Strategic Director of Children’s Services in Bradford since July 2019.
A Coronial appointment is a great privilege and a role Martin takes most seriously. The key to his position is developing strong, lasting relationships with the local community.
Michael Cracknell - Business Development Manager at Schofield Sweeney Solicitors
Worked in law firms and accountancy for 20 years, purely in marketing, BD and comms roles (e.g. not as a lawyer)
Mohammad Ali - Senior IT Account Manager at CCS Media
Born and raised in Bradford. I grew up in a Council estate area, living with my family of 7.
Nick Garthwaite - Managing Director of Christeyns Ltd
Born in London in 1957, has spent most of his life so far in Yorkshire, and thus would like to be considered an honary Yorkshireman!
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.
Osman Khan - Temporary Assistant Chief Constable at West Yorkshire Police
Osman is a Police Officer within West Yorkshire. He is currently the Temporary Assistant Chief Constable who is responsibility for Specialist Crime with his substantive role being the District Commander for Bradford.
Studied law by correspondence course and at the Inns of Court School of Law 1973-1975
Rad is a Bradford born and now Leeds based professional freelance director of documentaries, short films, music & art videos that celebrate youth talent and highlight the social concerns of young people.
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.
In 2008, Richard was appointed as a magistrate on the Bradford and Keighley bench and is continuing to serve the Bradford community.
Rob Omar - Director of Academies at CCS Media Ltd
Rob has worked at CCS Media for over 18 years and has held most sales roles within the organisation.
Sabbiyah Pervez- Community Reporter at BBC Look North
One of six girls; faced cultural barriers; passionate feminist and advocate for young people
Samreen Akhtar - Barrister at Broadway House Chambers
I am a barrister specialising in crime and currently practise on the North Eastern Circuit.
Sana Khan - Account Manager at CCS Media
Enthusiastic 24year old. British Pakistani female. She has been through various job types within the Health care industry, studied L3 Health & social care as well as L3 + Business & Management.
Sharena Lee Satti is an Independent Artist, Poet, Author, Spoken word artist and Workshop facilitator. She is really passionate about poetry and self-expression through creative art and spoken word.
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 program called Breakthrough.
Shazia Awan - Radio Program Developer/Learning Support Assistant at Beckfoot Thornton Academy.
Shazia comes from a hardworking Pakistani Asian Immigrant family whose father came to the UK at the age of 12 and was a mill worker until he succeeded in the Restaurant/Takeaway business, her mother has always been a housewife.
Simmy Sekhon - Managing Director of The Sekhon Group
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’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 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.
Simone Reid - Founding Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Dandelion Organisation Ltd
They say the first 5-7 years of each person’s life are the most formative. These the ones with the life-long capacity to define our academic experience, quality of adult relationships, career prospects and so much more.
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 Irish Times and, was the first person to go to University from her family who were originally Manchester Irish.
A wealth of knowledge and very much about supporting others.
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
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.
Thomas Whitford-Bartle - Alumni Engagement Officer at University of Bradford
Thomas is an Alumni Engagement Officer at the University of Bradford
Tim Rogers - Head of Bradford of LocalIQ
Born and raised in Bradford, did a undergraduate degree at Bradford University and a postgraduate degree at Leeds University.
Trevor Higgins - Chief Executive Officer, Bradford Breakthrough
I am Bradford born, bred and educated. I was brought up in a happy, family of nine in a three -bedroom council semi on the edge of an estate.
Yunus Mayat - IT Specialist at Bradford 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
Zaf Shah - Doctoral Researcher at Leeds Beckett Law School
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...
Adrian Kneeshaw - CEO a Carlton Bolling
Andrea Eli - Sales Director at Venture Office Supplies
Dame Naila Zaffer
Fiona Crothers - Schofield Sweeney
Ruwena Khan - Barrister
Simon Shepherd - Schofield Sweeney
Tina Morris - Schofield Sweeney
Victoria Hartford - Marshfield Primary School
If you wish to book a Bradford Community Champion to visit your school please email Sadeema Parvez at
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