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 We are dealing with symptoms, but what about prevention? The recent news of the Liverpool University study into the experience of teenagers suggest that one in four girls suffers from symptoms that are close to depression (it’s 1 in 10 for boys). Dr Praveetha Pataly (the lead researcher) suggested ‘teenagers, particularly girls, are facing more mental health difficulties than previous generations’. At Creative Youth Network, our experience reflects this. We are seeing a consistent rise in mental health issues at all ends of the spectrum. The good news is that this is partly down to less stigmatisation of mental health issues and a willingness amongst young and old to talk about their experiences more. However, at the same time we see stress, anxiety and depression rising amongst the teenagers we work with. Along with a reduction in services to support young people, this creates a ‘double whammy’ of problems and leads to, at best, young people not reaching their potential and, at worst, ruined lives. Where a teacher or youth worker might have been the first port of call when things start to go wrong, the lack of time and services mean young people sink deeper before getting help. The growing pressures of qualifications, student debt, online bullying, finance, body image and more are pushing more young people into feeling anxious at the same time as services to prevent these issues are being reduced. This often leads to us only dealing with symptoms. We achieve a great deal for young people, getting them into work, back into education, teaching new skills and helping them to reach their potential. And while teenagers will always need to ‘find themselves’ we don’t often stop to ask why they face so many problems in the first place. As professionals, we consistently look to intervene early in young peoples lives. Stopping minor problems from becoming big problems that damage young people’s life chances and cost society and government more. But we are still looking at the symptoms rather than preventing the problems in the first place. We seem not to understand it is better that a youth worker has a relationship with a young person in the first place that means they come to speak with them about the bullying online before it escalates into physical violence or depression, but we rarely stop to ask why it happens in the first place. Mental health issues, stress and anxiety are all rising in young people and we are investing in NHS, youth services, teacher training and more to help cope with and respond to it. But we are doing nothing to reduce the stress and pressure in the first place. Often the pressure comes in incremental and unnoticeable ways: the rise of social media allows bullies to prey 24/7 with no respite, our economy relies more and more on the quality of our education leading to more pressure to achieve in exams and leaving more people behind, society is more mobile meaning families are often dispersed, housing and the cost of living is higher putting more pressure on parents and therefore their children. We know that prevention is better than cure and this is a mantra repeated by politicians from all parties, but when the time comes to choose where the money goes, the immediate and real demands of crisis management wins out almost every time. Find out more about our intensive one to one support available for young people How can we help?