How can a building make you smile?Reimagining and redeveloping The Courts Imagine a place where a young person’s background, race, beliefs, gender, physical ability and economic status had nothing to do with how good they could be, what they could achieve. A space where they could fully explore their creative potential, receive support and mentoring, and find meaningful work. That place is the Old Bristol Magistrates Courts (The Courts). An enterprise centre to help young people set up their own creative businesses and develop their opportunities. A place where there are no barriers to their future, where the only things that count are their abilities and talents. Thanks to the The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Bristol City Council we are developing detailed business and architectural plans to reimagine and redevelop this historic city landmark as a place that will complement Bristol’s renowned and growing creative industries sector. To get involved and keep up to date with our progress, sign up to our newsletter. The Problem with Creativity The Creative Surplus UK creative industries are a true success story. They are growing at twice the rate of the UK economy, while employment in the sector grows at four times the rate of the national workforce. Creative industries form a key sector of UK industry, generating around £92 billion per annum and contributing more than 5% of the UK economy (DCMS, 2017). Taken as a whole, the creative industries employ about 15,900 people in the Bristol and Bath area. The region’s creatives are estimated to be 50% more productive than the UK average and productivity in creative businesses across Bristol and Bath has increased by 106% since 1999. The Creative Deficit All those positive statistics mask stark reminders about how inequality and other disadvantages are stopping many very able young people from entering the creative industries. White people hold 88% of the jobs and only 11% are occupied by BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) people. Men dominate the sector holding 63% of the jobs. In the gaming industry, a creative field in which the UK excels, 86% of jobs are held by men, 96% by white people. It is also significantly difficult if a young person comes from state education. Since 2010, there has been a 28% drop in the number of students taking creative GCSEs, with a corresponding drop in the number of specialist arts teachers. Our Solution The Courts will throw open the doors to creativity through an open, enabling and supportive environment for those talented but disadvantaged or marginalised young people seeking to enter the creative industries. Floor by floor plan Basement It is envisaged the basement level (the old cell block) will contain incubator space and enterprise workshops for young people. Our plan is to let this space on a short-term and quick-release basis for people looking to develop a business, or starting out as a young professional. Ground floor The ground floor currently has four courtrooms, one of which will be restored to its original condition and offered as a film, television and performance location. The remaining rooms will be developed into lettable spaces for multipurpose use. These will include space for Creative Youth Network services, for creative industries, youth participation work, performance, gallery exhibition and a bar/café.A public entry will ensure everyone, regardless of their physical ability, can use the same entrance. First, second & third floors The first, second and third floors will provide 1,115m² of high-quality office space let commercially and accommodating around 110 workers. These tenant organisations will share our organisational values and ethos for the building.A new lift will connect all four floors, again ensuring full access, while the old staircase will be retained as a heritage feature. We are also considering a green-roof across some of the open spaces covering the rooftop to complement the high-spec insulation, heating and cooling, and energy conservation measures planned to ensure The Courts has the lowest possible environmental impact. About us Blog A vision for young people in Bristol It’s a cliché but young people are our future. We know that a good start is the single biggest indicator of a successful life. It doesn’t matter what your talent, intelligence, physical ability, race, religion or sexuality, if you have opportunities and support from family, friends, teachers, youth or social workers you are far more likely to reach your potential - whether you are the next Michelangelo, Brunel, great mum, dad or friend. That network of help is invaluable and pays back many times to the individual and our communities. So, as Creative Youth Network sets out managing the new Targeted Youth Services in Bristol, we want to set out our vision for how to make this happen and what we see as our role in it. I'm not going to dwell on the 'motherhood and apple pie' of great education, sure start, good housing, access to services and opportunities. All of these things are right and worthy aims but there are gaps that many young people fall through meaning they don't have the support or opportunities to reach their potential. Organisational culture I've said this before in one of my blogs but I like it so much that I'll say it again - Culture eats strategy for breakfast! There are a thousand plans, pathways, services and initiatives to improve young people’s lot but they will count for nothing if we are not committed to meeting the needs of young people across the city. From the NHS nurse who delivers a child, to their first employer, we are all responsible for looking out for the youth of our city and we need to develop a new culture if we are to achieve our aim of every young person reaching their potential. Consistency Young People will walk their own journey; some on the rails and some off. All the projects and programmes we run help but often only when the time is right. So long term relationships are the bedrock to making sure young people succeed. If we walk the journey with young people beyond the end of education, the breakdown of family, the ‘12 week support programme’ and during their darkest hours, then, when they are ready to look to their future, someone is there to help guide them back. Persistence Even when people don’t want to talk to us we can keep the relationship going by never giving up on a young person. It’s making sure we keep in contact so they know we are there for them. Be there when they come back So many services are only available when something has gone wrong: youth offending, specialist education, social services - all do a great job but stop supporting young people when things look like they are getting back on track. We need services that support young people when things are getting better and walk that long and bumpy road to recovery with them. As we roll out the new contract serving and supporting young people in our city I will be looking to embed this culture in everything we do. How can we help?