KC leads project to help Keighley people

A community publication designed by Keighley Creative with input from numerous local organisations opens door to help during cost-of-living crisis.

Keighley community organisations have come together to help people struggling in the cost-of-living crisis.

Arts charity Keighley Creative has produced a newspaper-style guide with pointers to where to get support, in an easy-to-read format.

Open Door also contains healthy recipes to feed four people with costs as low as 72p per person. The publication is being distributed throughout the local area, with team members handing out copies at Asda and Morrisons supermarkets, and is available at community centres.

Keighley's Open Door newspaper with recipes and helplines
The Open Door newspaper produced by community groups contains useful phone numbers and cheap, easily and healthy recipes. Photo: Bob Smith Photography

It has information for Keighley folk on getting advice on a range of subjects including debt management, mental health, benefits, food, immigration, warmth, health and wellbeing, form filling, safe spaces and addiction.

The project has brought people together to create one large network of organisations including Keighley Creative, Highfield Community Association, Keighley Healthy Living, Salvation Army, Keighley Pathways, Worth Valley Food Bank, Eden Community Association, Good Food Shop, Bangladeshi Community Association, Sangat Centre, Hainworth Wood Community Association and the Keighley Association for Women and Children Centre.

Aimee Grundell, who led the production of the paper, said: “As the cost-of-living crisis continues, we became increasingly aware that a lot of support services that were promoted were either national or Bradford focused. Phone numbers for urgent help often put people through to call centres or to people that were quite removed from Keighley. We wanted to help by providing a friendly hello and clear information on how to directly find support within town itself. There are lots of resources and helpful people in Keighley, it’s just knowing how to access them.”

Aimee Grundell Keighley Creative
Aimee Grundell led the production of Open Door. Photo: Bob Smith Photography

All the contact links are local 01535 landline numbers.

Many of the people providing support services in Keighley have themselves experienced poverty and the newspaper tells some of their inspirational stories. One contributor, Rachel, who now works for the Salvation Army, in the past had to contact local organisations herself when her family were struggling to make ends meet and she now uses those experiences to help others.

Open Door includes cheap, healthy and easy recipes created by Keighley Healthy Living and based on foodbank staples, to help struggling families put an affordable but delicious meal on the table. It gives guidance to those that would like to improve their mental health with free resources. It features some fun activities for children and features illustrations from local artist Rebecca Buchanan and graphic design by Lee Goater. Bob Smith provided photography. 

Open Door newspapers in a shopping trolley
The Open Door newspaper produced by community groups is available from ASDA Keighley. Photo: Bob Smith Photography

Aimee Grundell added: “Keighley organisations have tried to take a different approach to supporting the community and hopefully we can help ensure that local people don’t encounter closed doors or have their time wasted.”

Asda’s Keighley store manager Mark Corps said: “We’re happy to support this free publication created by local groups for our customers and townsfolk. They’re available in Asda Keighley to pick up near our customer service desk.”

For more information or to receive a copy of the Open Door newspaper, please email or grab a copy from Asda.

The project has been funded by some of the organisations involved, along with Bradford Council, Citizens Advice, Department of Work and Pensions, Feeding Bradford and Keighley, The Healthy Growth Initiative, JAMES Project and Keighley area co-ordinators office.


Welcoming our new Exec Director at Keighley Creative

Following a competitive recruitment process, Riaz Meer, one of the founders of Keighley Arts and Film Festival, will take up a post leading creative arts in the town over the next two years.

The experienced film and television editor will oversee Keighley Creative’s organisational development and transition to a permanent base. His brief will include working with East Street Arts, which is due to take over the lease of the former Sunwin House building on Hanover Street, with Keighley Creative as its tenant from 2026. 

Riaz will work to build relationships with organisations including Bradford Council, Keighley Town Council, Keighley Business Improvement District, Bradford 2025, and the Towns Fund board and its long-term plan for the town. He will also develop a fundraising strategy for the organisation that secures its long-term future.

An important part of the role is to ensure Keighley Creative has a sustainable plan for its development. Riaz was previously a trustee of the charity for more than four years. In 2018, he was instrumental in setting up Keighley Creative Space, which became the current charity in 2020. He is currently vice-chair of the Media Reform Coalition and is active in the broadcasting and entertainments union Bectu.

Riaz Meer, Executive Director at Keighley Creative. Photo credit: Bob Smith Photography
Riaz Meer, who has been appointed Kala Sangam’s executive director seconded to Keighley Creative. Photo: Bob Smith Photography

He said: “I’m thrilled to join the team at Keighley Creative. There really is no place like Keighley, and no arts organisation quite like Keighley Creative. I’ve been involved as a trustee in trying to increase arts provision for the people of Keighley. I’m delighted to now step up and play a more active role in the town. 

“The next two years offer an amazing set of challenges and opportunities. Keighley must and will play a vital part in Bradford’s Capital of Culture 2025. At the same time, we will see the complete renovation of Sunwin House and the establishment of a permanent home for Keighley Creative. These are once-in-a-generation opportunities and for the sake of the people of Keighley we must seize them.

“There is no other arts organisation I would consider throwing my lot in with. I am sure there will be testing times ahead, but we have the expertise of East Street Arts, Bradford Council, Bradford 2025 and Kala Sangam to draw on. And I also have the support of our fantastic team of staff and our energetic board of trustees.

“For me, this is the right time and Keighley Creative is the right place.” 

The executive director post has been funded by major Bradford arts organisation Kala Sangam through their Cultural Development Fund award from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. The post is the second Kala Sangam appointment to be seconded to Keighley Creative. In April, Lauren Kelly began working as Arts and Heritage Officer with the charity.

Alex Croft, creative director of Kala Sangam, said: “I am so pleased that we’ve been able to appoint such an exceptional candidate to the role of executive director at Keighley Creative. Our Cultural Development Fund project is aiming to make a real difference across Bradford district over the next two years, and a major priority has always been supporting Keighley to ensure arts and cultural provision is protected and grown in the town. I think we’re in safe hands with Riaz at the helm!”

To find out more, please email


We’re Hiring! Creative Director

Creative Director
Part Time

We are looking for someone to hold the creative vision for Keighley Creative and ensure the successful delivery of all programmes, including but not limited to; The Drawing Box Project; Arts for Brain Health; Keighley Creative Presents; Studio Programme; Artist Development and Progression Pathways. 

Closing Date: 19th June

To find out more or to apply, download the forms above, or email:


We’re Hiring! Event Producer

Event Producer 
Part Time (22.5 hours a week)

Come and join our small, dedicated team to fundraise for, develop and deliver Keighley Creative Presents, our year-round programme of community-focussed creative events.
Closing Date: 4th July

To find out more or to apply, download the forms above, or email:


DJ workshop at Keighley Creative with KIya Major
Community workshops Family fun

Celebrating St. George’s Day in Keighley

St. George’s Day celebrations came to Keighley on Sunday 21st April 2024 with a parade followed by lots of activities and goings-on inside the Airedale Shopping Centre.

As well as lots of performers and entertainment put on by the shopping centre and Keighley Town Council, Keighley Creative were invited to run a themed craft workshop for local families.

Lots of people came along to enjoy the activities including Punch and Judy shows, stilt walkers and face-painting. And lots of children came along and made and designed their own shield and sword. We had lots of unique creations courtesy of Keighley kids!

Thank you to the shopping centre and Keighley Town Council for organising such a fab event.

To attend our next community arts and craft workshop, please follow our social media.

Family fun Previous

Celebrating Eid in Keighley with arts and craft workshop

Eid celebrations were a great success at Keighley Market this year.

Local artist and experienced facilitator, Emily Parkin, designed and led a fun Eid themed craft activity on Saturday 13th April. The families who attended made Eid cards to pass on to loved ones.

Lots of Keighley people got involved and it was a real celebration!

Thank you to Keighley Market for hosting and for Bradford Markets and Bradford Council for their support.

To find out about our next family-friendly arts and crafts workshops, please follow @keighleycreative on social media or check on our website.

Family fun Stockroom

Keighley cinema hosted young film festival

This April, Keighley Creative and The Unit welcomed some new movie-goers to its teeny Stockroom Cinema.

Leeds Film contacted us about using our pop-up cinema to offer Keighley families a unique cinema experience over the Easter holidays.

Screenings put on were part of the Leeds Young Film Festival (LYFF) and included 80s’ fantasy classic Labyrinth, the Roald Dahl animation Fantastic Mr Fox and the still popular cartoon Moomins. Most popular was the unique Marcel the Shell with shoes on who entertained viewers both young and old.

Thanks so much to the team at Leeds Film and our fabulous bunch of volunteers for putting on such a great series of events.

For more information on our Stockroom Cinema and performance space, please email or contact The Unit.

For more information on Leeds Film and their film festivals, please visit their website


Welcome Lauren!

A major charity has appointed a worker to help Keighley people celebrate their heritage through the arts.

Lauren Kelly will work with community groups in a two-year project run by Kala Sangam. The Bradford-based organisation has appointed four arts and heritage officers, one of whom, Lauren, will be based in Keighley. She will work with Keighley Creative, based at its hub in the former Argos building on Cooke Lane.

Lauren Kelly, who has been appointed arts and heritage officer at Kala Sangam and seconded to Keighley Creative. Photo: Bob Smith Photography

Lauren’s brief is to identify and engage with a number of communities over the next two years, as the Keighley heads into Bradford’s City of Culture celebrations in 2025. The Kala Sangam-Keighley Creative project will culminate with an arts event involving a professional artist.

She said: “The whole point of the project is for each of the post holders to get to know their communities, where they’re based. It’s community-led: the heritage stories of the areas and the residents who live here. The
end goal for the two years is to find an artist and commission a massive artistic response to those heritage stories.”

She has already established links with the Sue Belcher Centre in Bracken Bank, having worked with the One In A Million youth group on a mural with Aimee Grundell of Keighley Creative. Lauren has previously worked as a volunteer on several Keighley Creative events.
Over the next few weeks, she will be working with Bradford Council’s ward officers to forge links with communities across the Keighley area.

Lauren Kelly volunteering at Women of the World event at Keighley Creative
Lauren volunteering at a recent event at Keighley Creative. Photo: Beth Nixon

“We want to find preferably four, maybe three key residential sites across the Keighley district where there is specific community interest – maybe areas where they’re a bit underserved at the moment, not getting enough recognition,” she said. “I want to find key community groups of residents from those sites that I can work with. Along the way we can do workshops, events – all heritage-based – talking about their cultural traditions.”

Lauren was educated in Bradford and has a degree in fine arts from Newcastle University. She said she knows Keighley town centre well, having worked in a bank in the town in her first job at the age of 18. She has recently worked as a freelance in the arts and creative sector.
She added she is determined that Keighley plays its part in the City of Culture celebrations. “I want to highlight Bradford 2025. This project is going to happen in that year of culture, so I’ll be saying: ‘don’t forget Keighley’. So much stuff is going to be happening over here too, so we’ll hopefully be bringing people across into the district.”

Gemma Hobbs of Keighley Creative said: “I’m really excited by the opportunities this project opens up.

“Having a new member of the team with us for the next two years – with her whole role being to go and listen to people about what they want, share stories, and work with local groups to turn these personal histories into great art – will be a big boost for the town. As an organisation, the learning this project offers by linking us up
with other centres across the district, to share best practice and tour work, is fantastic.”

Kala Sangam, which will shortly rename itself Bradford Arts Centre, was established in 1993. Its based in the former General Post Office in Forster Square, Bradford, which is currently undergoing major redevelopment work.

Kala Sangam building Bradford arts hub
Kala Sangam (Bradford Arts Centre) is currently undergoing major renovation.

Lauren’s arts and heritage colleagues, Claire Hudson, Amarjit Singh Bath and Gemma Bailey will be based at Kala Sangam, the Rockwell Centre in Thorpe Edge and the South Square Centre, Thornton.

Amer Sarai, head of community engagement at Kala Sangam and project manager, said: “I am so excited to be launching this arts and heritage project. We have appointed a brilliant group of talented, diverse officers, who will work closely with their local communities to create bespoke programmes of creative work that capture and
celebrate their heritages.

New Arts and Heritage Officers employed by Kala Sangam in Bradford
R to L: Claire Hudson, Amarjit Singh Bath, Amer Sarai, Lauren Kelly and Gemma Bailey.

“The work developed at each hub will truly be led by the communities they are working with and will really reflect the breadth of experiences, cultures and stories of the people of Bradford.”

Keighley Creative was formed as a charity in 2020, originally operating from the former Sunwin House department store building on Hanover Street. It currently occupies a temporary base in the ex-Argos store on
the edge of the Airedale Shopping Centre.

Keighley Creative's building on Cooke Lane
Keighley Creative’s temporary home – 3-7, Cooke Lane. Photo: Bob Smith Photography

The arts and heritage project has received funding from both the Arts Council-administered Department for Culture Media and Sport’s cultural development fund and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Arts Council logo
National Lottery Heritage Fund logo

Kala Sangam Appoints Arts and Heritage Officers to work across Bradford district

As part of an ambitious two-year engagement project, Kala Sangam and partners Keighley CreativeSouth Square Centre and Bloomin’ Buds Theatre Company have appointed four Arts and Heritage Officers to deliver a programme of activities with communities across Bradford district.

The four partners will form a network of creative venues, with each organisation having an Arts & Heritage Officer embedded in their team to work with local communities to build a programme of activities inspired by their heritages. The unique model sees the four Arts and Heritage Officers employed by lead organisation Kala Sangam, but jointly managed with their parent hub.

The four Arts & Heritage Officers are Claire Hudson, Lauren Kelly, Amarjit Singh Bath and Gemma Bailey.

Claire will be based at Kala Sangam and will be working with diverse community groups from Womenzone, The New Libya Society, u3a Bradford, and the Rohingya Centre UK. In Keighley, Lauren will partner with Keighley Neighbourhood Office to identify and work in four residential sites of community interest across the Keighley Wards. Bloomin’ Buds Theatre Company run the Rockwell Centre in Thorpe Edge and this is where Amarjit will engage a range of users of the community centre, including their men’s mental health group. At South Square Centre, Gemma will be developing projects with both current building users and local communities including residents from two supported living communities.

Amer Sarai, Head of Community Engagement at Kala Sangam and project manager said: ‘I am so excited to be launching this Arts and Heritage project. We have appointed a brilliant group of talented, diverse officers, who will work closely with their local communities to create bespoke programmes of creative work that capture and celebrate their heritages.

Kala Sangam logo

‘The work developed at each hub will truly be led by the communities they are working with and will really reflect the breadth of experiences, cultures and stories of the people of Bradford.’

Alice Withers from South Square said, ‘We are really looking forward to being part of this project which connects disparate parts of Bradford, together with the Hubs. The project will enable us to build on existing relationships with communities in West Bradford and give us a really exciting opportunity to develop exciting outcomes for communities over a long period of time.’

Gemma Hobbs for Keighley Creative said, ‘I’m really excited by the opportunities this project opens up. Having a new member of the team, with us for the next two years – with her whole role being to go and listen to people about what they want, share stories, and work with local groups to turn these personal histories into great art will be a big boost for the town. As an organisation, the learning this project offers by linking us up with other centres across the district, to share best practice and tour work, is fantastic.’

Katie Mahon from Bloomin’ Buds Theatre Company said, ‘Bloomin’ Buds are delighted to be involved as a community hub as part of this incredible project. It is a huge stepping stone for us to spend time engaging with vulnerable groups to increase access to arts and cultural opportunity with more support and resource. It is also great to be a part of this network at a time of exciting change and opportunity in Bradford. 

This arts and heritage project has been made possible thanks to funding from both the Arts Council administered Department for Culture Media and Sport’s Cultural Development Fund and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

(Image c. Karol Wyszynski. L – R Claire Hudson, Amarjit Singh Bath, Amer Sarai, Lauren Kelly, Gemma Bailey)

Arts Council logo
National Lottery Heritage Fund logo

Work with us

Keighley Creative are currently looking for a new Executive Director to join our team. Could it be you?!

With Bradford’s year as UK City of Culture on the horizon, and a transformational capital project ready to be delivered, Keighley Creative is looking for an exceptional individual to lead the organisation through to its next chapter.

Employed by Kala Sangam but seconded to Keighley Creative, the successful candidate will provide inspirational leadership for Keighley Creative, holding and shaping the organisation’s vision whilst developing a sustainable future for the company.

This is an exciting opportunity to play a leadership role in one of Bradford district’s key cultural organisations in the run up to, during and beyond the City of Culture year. It is a great opportunity for either an experienced leader looking for a new challenge, or an aspiring cultural leader to make a huge impact.

With Keighley Creative due to become the Anchor Tenant in new East Street Arts building in Keighley in 2026, a key responsibility of the role will be working with East Street Arts, Architects and Bradford 2025 to ensure the new building supports and enables the vision of Keighley Creative to be realised.

Alongside leading and managing the staff team at Keighley Creative, the Executive Director will be responsible for building and maintain strategic relationships across Bradford district, including funders such as Arts Council England as Keighley Creative looks to secure National portfolio status from 2027.

Kala Sangam is an equal opportunities employer with a diverse staff team and Board. We would be particularly interested in receiving applications from people from non-traditional arts backgrounds.

Job title: Executive Director, Keighley Creative

Salary: £40,000 gross per annum

Period: Fixed Term contract, end date 31st March 2026.

The post holder will be employed by Kala Sangam and seconded to Keighley Creative.

Hours of work: This is a full-time post (37.5 hours) and will involve flexible working patterns with some evening and weekend work likely.

Closing date: Wednesday 01 May (midday)

Interviews: Thursday 9th May at Keighley Creative, 3-7 Cooke Lane, Keighley, BD21 3PF

Start dateL From July 2024 – contract end date end date 31st March 2026

To apply please visit the Kala Sangam website via the link: