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 How Youth Work Enables Young People to Be Active Members of Their Communities and Society Today we're exploring the day theme of Youth Work Week: Young People as Active Members of Their Communities and Society. You only have to read the news at the moment, to hear another young person has been a victim of knife crime and wonder what young people’s role in society is at the moment, and how much they are contributing. There is no coincidence that there has been a 62% cut in Youth Services over the last decade, and the increase in issues such as knife crime. For many young people, the only community they feel part of is the sanctuary of their youth centre, where they are always met with the unconditional positive regard of experienced youth workers and can escape the challenges of life. Society tends to be less understanding of how or why a young person may engage in dangerous or criminal activity, and thus young people become outcasts of society through loss of their safe spaces and communities. The importance of volunteering There are various approaches to engage young people in their communities and society, but for me a golden thread that I have embedded with all my various roles with young people is volunteering. Through providing structured volunteering opportunities for young people, they have the power to overcome extreme adversity, and positively engage in their communities and society. Through volunteering, I have had the privilege of supporting a custody leaver use his experiences in peer education workshops; having spent years in and out of the justice system, he has not returned, and since has a job in London working with young offenders. I have been astounded when a care leaver, with experience of homelessness and mental health issues gained the confidence approach the Mayor of Bristol and invite him in to meet with other young people (which he did!). I have watched in amazement as one of our Youth Ambassadors, Dannie who like 1 in 4 other young people, struggled so severely with anxiety that she could hardly speak to one person, travel to London from her very rural village and speak to a room full of people in Parliament to represent the voice of young people. “The best thing about volunteering in a youth setting is knowing that I’m helping other young people who might be going through the same hard situations that I was. Not only has volunteering helped me overcome challenges around my mental health but it also gave me a chance to meet some amazing new people as well as opening many doors to some fantastic opportunities.” – Dannie Hawkins At Creative Youth Network, we have various volunteer roles which provide the community, and especially young people, the opportunity to contribute to the delivery of our open access youth sessions. These roles offer a vital opportunity for young people to contribute to their local community, whilst also gaining valuable skills to set them up for life. One of our very own Youth Workers, Marcus began attending Hanham Youth Centre in year 7. With very low confidence and not many friends, the opportunity to become a Youth Volunteer has led to his journey of becoming an employed Youth Worker with us several years later. The core of change: relationships I often reflect on what I have learned over the years, and how it is possible these young people have overcome such barriers around mental health, leaving care or custody, homelessness, financial, confidence, family break down (to name a few!) and managed to completely turn their lives around. There is one common denominator: they had a consistent relationship with a kind, and non-judgemental youth worker. Someone who never excludes them from the community regardless of the challenges they present with. I often wonder if we lived in a society that adopted a kind, youth work approach, that chose understanding over judgement, how different the landscape may be today. In whatever capacity you work with young people, ensuring young people become active and valued members of society is an aim we share and hope for every young person we work with. In today’s challenging climate, how else can be ensure young people are active and valued members of society? Join in the effort to empower young people to be active and valued members of society. Donate now: Please select a donation amount: * £5 Can keep the kettle warm all evening for young people £10 Can cover a tin of paint we use to cover the wear and tear of the building £20 Can pay for a room where a youth worker supports a young person Other Donate How can we help?