Supporting community at Bradford College’s Big Iftar  

Bradford College opened their doors to the community for the Big Iftar on Thursday, 14 March. An Iftar is the breaking of the fast in Ramadan, which starts with Muslims eating a date (or something sweet) before the main meal. 

Helen Sykes (Head of Go Higher West Yorkshire (GHWY)) and I were pleased to attend to both support one of our member institutions and to represent GHWY at the event. It was also lovely to see a few members of staff that we knew through our work. 

As a Muslim, I’ve done many an Iftar. Most of them have been with family but I’ve also previously attended a community one that was open-air. So, what made the Bradford College Big Iftar special? The focus on bringing the community together really shone through. Around 45 people attended – multi-generational families; groups of friends; those fasting; and those not fasting – and it was great talking to those around us about what we do; how it feels to be part of an Iftar; and about Bradford. 

It was also interesting to hear the experiences of attendees and what brought them there. Some wanted to support Bradford College, while others wanted to attend a local community event. It was also an opportunity for some people to experience an Iftar – albeit, without abstaining from food and drink beforehand – to understand what it means. The College embraced all these reasons: a staff member talked about it being a part of the local community, hence it hosting the Big Iftar, while also explaining more about an Iftar.  

The Big Iftar was also special for the way it focused on supporting skills for the College’s students. There was a welcome from one of the students and all the food had been prepared by students with the help of their employer partner, My Lahore. There were also students who worked front of house. It was good to see them get experience.  

The event was held at Grove Café, which is Bradford College’s training restaurant. The food really was excellent and we certainly did not go hungry. We started with homemade samosas, pakora and saag paneer, which was then followed with chicken pasanda, lamb khari and a tarka dahl. We also found out the Café does an A La Carte menu on most Thursday evenings, and I’d definitely recommend it for the hospitality and lovely food.  

There was a good atmosphere at the Big Iftar and it’s certainly one I’ll remember. It felt like home and for many students in Higher Education (HE) it is home. I hope we can attend again next year. 


Tahera Mayat, GHWY Collaborative Outreach Officer