Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have today (15 January) met students from Bradford College during their special tour of the city.
As part of today’s visit, the royal couple visited British Asian restaurant MyLahore in Great Horton Road where they met four of the college’s Catering and Hospitality students and spoke to them about living, working and studying in the city.
The students, Ellie Worsnop, Zaydan Husayn, Jamie Greenwood and Jack Johnson helped with preparations for the day.
On the same day, Bradford College and MyLahore jointly signed an employer pledge, marking the start of a long-term business partnership. As part of this, both establishments will support the delivery of training, education, apprenticeships, work experience and placements and job opportunities for young people in the city.
Shakoor Ahmed, Managing Director of MyLahore, said: “At MyLahore we’re inspired to build on the pioneering migrant spirit of those that journeyed before us, and pass on something positive to those that come after us. So we are delighted to partner with Bradford College to strengthen our commitment to develop young people in our communities. We are honoured that The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have visited to support this work.
“We feel it’s important to give young people guidance and direction. We have a fantastic team from all around the world who share their knowledge and experience with young people and open up the opportunity to be Bradford’s next generation of chefs.
“We have always seen the business as a vehicle to do good and we feel blessed to have the opportunity to make a difference.”
Dawn Leak, Vice Principal, Bradford College, said: “We welcome the chance to work in partnership with a long-established local restaurant. It is hugely important to us that we are able to collaborate with businesses like MyLahore to provide a range of employment and work experience opportunities for our students.”
MyLahore and Bradford College have had strong connections for many years, having previously provided Bradford College students with experience of working in the restaurant. Mr Ahmed hopes to offer similar experience to many more students from the college over the coming months. He said: “As well as our Bradford restaurant, I would like to offer the same opportunities to students in other cities where we have MyLahore restaurants.”
On the same day, The Duke and Duchess met representatives of the Muslim Women’s Council, which aims to empower women across the Bradford District. Among the group’s many projects is the Curry Circle, which provides a free curry, drinks and a clean warm environment every week for around 100 people. Over the last 12 months they have supported 7,000 people, and over 40,000 people since starting the project. Those who attend are from a variety of ethnic backgrounds and age groups.
“We are immensely proud to have been part of the royal visit today and to have the opportunity to profile our work on the Curry Circle here at Muslim Women’s Council,” said Bana Gora, CEO of Muslim Women’s Council.
Earlier in the day, fellow Bradford College students Mark Bartlett and Salsabil Elmegri were among young people invited to City Hall to take part in a round table discussion with The Duke and Duchess.
Here are some more photos of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visiting our friends at @mylahore where our catering students are on hand to help.#LoveBradford #RoyalVisitBradford #RoyalVisit @GroveRestaurant pic.twitter.com/r6clrMo9Tn— Bradford College (@BradfordCollege) January 15, 2020
Salsabil is currently the Vice President for Education & Welfare at Bradford College’s Students’ Union. She said: “It was a very interesting and informal discussion about mental health, apprenticeships and the opportunities that young people have in Bradford.
“The Duke and Duchess asked us questions about family support networks in Bradford, and how to tackle issues impacting people who don’t have the same support and security.
“There are a lot of youth opportunities and clubs but I think a lot of young people may not be aware of them unless they hear about them from teachers or friends.
“They also asked about how mental health is discussed within minority communities – for example, the way conversations are being created within different generations and how young people can change the way it’s talked about.”
Helping to facilitate this discussion was Vinay Verma, former Bradford College student and Student Ambassador, who was part of the party welcoming the royal couple to City Hall. He said: “It was a great privilege and I was absolutely honoured and thrilled about the visit.
“The couple were absolutely lovely and very personable. They listened carefully to everything and were genuinely interested in everything they had to say.”
Cath Orange, Chair of Bradford College, said: “Bradford College is very honoured by the interest shown by the Duke and Duchess and it will be a day to remember for everyone, especially our wonderful students.”
Bradford College has delivered quality further and higher education and training for more than 185 years and is one of the biggest further education colleges in the country. We're also one of the largest providers of higher education outside of the university sector. In total, our student body is around 20,000 strong.
MyLahore was started in Bradford in 2002 from humble beginnings by cousins Asghar Ali and Shakoor Ahmed.
At the time, Asghar was working in a bank while Shakoor was just starting out at Bradford University. With help from family and friends, they initially set up MyLahore as a way to finance Shakoor’s studies and support their families.
Fast forward and today MyLahore is an iconic multi-site restaurant and catering business that employs over 450 people from around 27 different nationalities. It is still family-run and has restaurants in Bradford, Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham with London coming soon.
MyLahore is rooted in Yorkshire in a world of small kitchens yet huge hearts, where families tuck into everything from samosas to shepherd’s pie, and karahis to cornflake tarts – it’s a very British Asian story that just had to be shared!
Inspired to build on the pioneering migrant spirit of generations that came before them, community and togetherness have always been at the heart of MyLahore. The business prides itself on championing local people and local causes, and welcoming all with open arms to a kitchen filled with love.