The city of culture will use its local gift card to ‘ignite the night time economy’ and encourage people to experience Bradford after 5

Bradford in West Yorkshire is building on the success of the Bradford City Centre Gift Card, and the Bradford at Night Scheme, with a new initiative to drive footfall to the night time economy.

The Bradford Night Out Gift Card is an extension of the Bradford City Centre Gift Card, featuring a new gift card holder and web page to showcase the variety of the night time offering in the city. Bradford is the first place in the UK to leverage its local gift card to create a specific night time gift card.

Recipients of the Bradford Night Out Gift Card will be directed via a QR code on the gift card holder to a range of ‘after 5pm’ city businesses, including theatres, shops, attractions, bars and restaurants.

Led by Bradford Business Improvement District, the Bradford City Centre Gift Card launched in November 2021. Part of the award winning Town & City Gift Card initiative, the gift card can be spent with over 100 businesses in the city.

Bradford BID also founded the Bradford at Night scheme, an independent membership body which brings together representatives from Bradford’s night time economy to create a vibrant, varied and safe environment for nights out.

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The BID’s business engagement officer Nikki Chadburn said the introduction of the Bradford Night Out Gift Card will work as part of overall efforts to provide support for the night time economy, encourage people into Bradford after 5pm, and make it a safer night out.

“When you look at everything that is open in Bradford after 5pm, the night out economy is actually really diverse. The Bradford Night Out Gift Card takes our popular Bradford City Centre Gift Card and packages it in a new way that is appealing to different audiences, directing people to businesses in the night time economy.

“The Bradford at Night scheme has taken great strides with projects like Pub Watch, Ask for Angela and The Street Angels. Also in encouraging greater collaboration between different sectors in Bradford. All of the businesses who are part of the Bradford Night Out Gift Card are also part of Bradford at Night, so we know that when we’re showcasing our night time offering, we’re also showcasing those businesses which have the right protocols in place to ensure an enjoyable and safe night out.”

Nikki believes that the Bradford Night Out Gift Card can also help the city to capitalise on its role as UK City of Culture 2025:

“Bradford has a unique heritage and culture, which is why it was selected as the UK City of Culture. There is a huge amount going on in the city, with an extensive programme of events and performances planned. The Bradford Night Out Gift Card is a chance for us to shine a light on our arts, culture, leisure, retail and hospitality offering in Bradford and give people the chance to experience it for themselves. The gift card will make Bradford accessible for all and ignite our night time economy.”

Julie Monks is deputy business manager at The Light cinema in Bradford and said the gift card allows people to experience Bradford in their own way:

“The Light is right in the centre of Bradford, close to The Broadway and restaurants like Pizza Express, Haute Dolci and Chilli Flames but we’re also close to North Parade with its indies, pubs and places to eat.

“At The Light, we’re a cinema but also a licensed premises, so people can sit in the bar area after work and enjoy a coffee or a beer, or share a bottle of red when they’re watching a film. A night out in Bradford can mean relaxing chill time with a partner or friend with a bite to eat, or it could mean experiencing Bradford’s pubs and restaurants. What’s great about the Bradford at Night Gift Card is that it presents the whole night out offering in Bradford, so people can experience it as they want.

“We’re part of the Bradford At Night scheme because it’s a way that we can work together as businesses to keep standards high and show that a night out in Bradford is safe. Now that Bradford has been awarded City of Culture, the Bradford Night Out Gift Card is a way that we can say ‘come and see what Bradford has to offer’.”

Another business welcoming the Bradford Night Out Gift Card is the Victorian Midland Hotel, which was built in 1886. David Crossley is the manager of the hotel and said:

“Bradford’s night out economy is growing, with new bars and restaurants opening up and initiatives like Best Bar None, which is in addition to the pub watch scheme, where they check your policies and procedures and award you a certificate. There’s also a Bradford at Night scheme that brings the hotels together once a month. Everyone is working together now, and supporting each other, and that benefits the general public who are in Bradford for a night out.

“What we need now is more people coming into the city. The Bradford Night Out Gift Card can only help to bring people into Bradford and will make a great gift that can be used on anything from a hotel stay to a trip to the theatre or a pint in a local.”

Bradford Cathedral is also part of the Bradford Night Out Gift Card. Philip Lickley from Bradford Cathedral said the city offers a different perspective at night:

“Bradford Cathedral is not only a place of worship but also a visitor and heritage attraction, civic venue and events location, that holds concerts, recitals, exhibitions, talks and much more. In the evening, we have our regular evening services through to regular exhibition launches plus annual events such as Cathedrals at Night. At Christmas, we’ll be hosting Bradford Cathedral Choir concerts with VOCES8 and the Black Dyke Band.

“There’s such a wide range of things to do in Bradford at night, from book launches to comedy nights to theatre shows, and it’s a beautiful city too. Little Germany, where the Cathedral is located, has stunning architecture. Visiting the Cathedral in the day is special, but at night we can bring the architecture to life through lights and candles. The light through the stained glass West Window at sunset is particularly beautiful, and soundtracked by the singing from our amazing choir, makes it even greater. It all offers a different perspective.

“I think the Bradford Night Out Gift Card will give people the chance to experience a different perspective of Bradford, to explore more of the city at night, discover some of the city’s hidden treasures, and open up the city to a wider range of people, both local and those visiting. The Bradford Night Out Gift Card will encourage people into the city in the evening, which is a real positive, and we’re happy to be a part of it.”

Created by fintech Miconex, the Night Out Gift Card is a national brand underpinned by the award winning Town & City Gift Card concept, and is the first specific night out proposition for the Perth based operator.

Miconex received the Small to Medium Business of the Year award at the Gift Card and Voucher Association (GCVA) Hall of Fame awards in September 2022 in recognition of the firm’s efforts to stimulate local economies and support local businesses.

Colin Munro is the managing director of Miconex and said:

“Where better to launch the very first Night Out Gift Card than Bradford, the UK City of Culture 2025. The Bradford Night Out Gift Card reinvents our tried and tested technology that exists in Bradford already through the Bradford City Centre Gift Card with a product for the night time economy. Not only will the Bradford City Centre Gift Card give customers choice and inspiration for their nights out, it will help the city to drive footfall, and provide support for a wide array of after 5pm businesses in Bradford.

“The out of home leisure market was valued at £171.2bn in 2019, with the night time economy accounting for two thirds of that. In recent Miconex research conducted with organisations, over 60% expressed an interest in night time gift card propositions for staff. Having their own Night Time Gift Card puts Bradford in a strong position to capitalise on their position as UK City of Culture, and cater for the rising demand for leisure, experiences and gift cards.”