Bread + Roses, The Thornbury Centre and Queensbury Celtic Football Club named among the Bradford finalists of the M&S Community Business Challenge

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Five inspiring community businesses in Bradford are now in line for a package of support including business skills training and a cash grant.
29 Oct, 2019

A football club, a co-working space and a community hub are among the businesses in line for skills support and a cash grant of up to £10,000 after reaching the final of the Bradford leg of the M&S Community Business Challenge.

Bradford is the fourth city in England to host the M&S Community Business Challenge, which seeks to find inspiring businesses that are run by local people and provide clear benefits to their communities.

Over the coming weeks five finalists will be encouraged to garner support across social media ahead of presenting their business plans at a showcase event on Wednesday 13th November, where the size of their grant and the nature of the business skills support will be confirmed. Members of the public can show their support for each community business by filling in the form at

The event will see each business pitch to a panel of judges from M&S and charitable trust Power to Change.

The Bradford finalists are:

  • Bread + Roses, a unique café, co-working space, rentable kitchen and event space. The business, which is used by everyone from refugee groups to local artists, is planning to develop a healthy lunchtime delivery service from the café.
  • Friends of Silsden Town Hall, which runs events at the historic building. This includes sports, educational and arts activities, as well as lunch clubs and a library. The organisation aims to grow its events programme and renovate its kitchen to enable it to offer catering services.
  • Mary Magdalene CIC, which offers a range of activities to people from all backgrounds and faiths in Manningham, in the heart of Bradford – from boxing and archery to keep-fit sessions. The business is hoping for a grant to go towards a new heating system so it can reach more people throughout the winter, and business skills support in marketing and revenue generation.
  • Queensbury Celtic Football Club, which provides high quality, affordable football activities for boys and girls aged 4 to 18. The club want to develop their new kitchen for increased daytime use and extend their daytime opening hours to reach more local community groups, as well as older and disabled people.
  • The Thornbury Centre, a community hub in BD3 that generates income through commercial and community room hire and tenancies. It reinvests this income in projects such as a community library and holiday hunger programmes. It is aiming to grow its outreach work so that it can develop its services for community members who receive Individual Service Funds.


The event at Kala Sangam Arts Centre is open to the public and is free to attend, but spaces are limited. Anyone interested should sign up on Eventbrite here:

Sam Haigh, Bradford store manager at M&S, said: “Through this challenge we’ve discovered some very inspirational community businesses that are doing great work across Bradford. We’re excited to learn more about the shortlisted organisations during the finalist event and to see how M&S colleagues can apply their business skills to support such fantastic causes.”

Mark Gordon, Director of Communications and Partnerships at Power to Change, added: “We’re delighted to bring such an impressive mix of community businesses together for this challenge in Bradford. Community businesses have the power to transform local economies, creating employment opportunities and providing vital services. The finalist event will demonstrate how community businesses are having this positive impact in Bradford.”

The School for Social Entrepreneurs are working with Power to Change and M&S to support delivery of the programme. Sue Osborne, Director at SSE Yorkshire & North East, said: “Community businesses are having a real impact in Bradford, and it has been a pleasure to support the shortlisted businesses through the application process. We look forward to hearing more about their business plans at the finalist event.”

The M&S Community Business Challenge opened in Liverpool in 2018, with further editions taking place in Plymouth and Bristol earlier this year. For more information about the programme, search #CBChallenge on Youtube and Twitter or visit



For more information please contact Jonathan Bacon (, 07894 613176) or Laura Hunt (, 0161 831 7141)

About Power to Change: Power to Change is the independent trust that supports community businesses in England. Community businesses are locally rooted, community-led, trade for community benefit and make life better for local people. The sector is worth £1.05 billion, and comprises 7,800 community businesses across England who employ 33,600 people (Source: Community Business Market 2018).

From pubs to libraries; shops to bakeries; swimming pools to solar farms; community businesses are creating great products and services, providing employment and training and transforming lives. Power to Change received its endowment from the National Lottery Community Fund in 2015.

About The National Lottery Community Fund: We are the largest community funder in the UK – we’re proud to award money raised by National Lottery players to communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Since June 2004, we have made over 200,000 grants and awarded over £9 billion to projects that have benefited millions of people.

We are passionate about funding great ideas that matter to communities and make a difference to people’s lives. At the heart of everything we do is the belief that when people are in the lead, communities thrive. Thanks to the support of National Lottery players, our funding is open to everyone. We’re privileged to be able to work with the smallest of local groups right up to UK-wide charities, enabling people and communities to bring their ambitions to life.

About Plan A: Plan A is Marks & Spencer’s ambitious, customer focused sustainability plan that aims to support 1,000 communities, help 10 million people live happier, healthier lives and convert M&S into a zero-waste business. The three-pillar plan is designed to tackle the big issues facing retailers, consumer businesses and society and spans wellbeing, transforming communities and caring for the planet. Find out more here –

In 2017, M&S announced its new community commitments as part of Plan A 2025, which included supporting colleagues to deliver one million hours of volunteering time by 2025.