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 Supporting the women of tomorrow #BalanceforBetter This International Women’s Day, we’re joining the call for #BalanceforBetter and working towards building a more equal world where young women can thrive and reach their potential. We all need role models growing up. We learn from the people around us, who enable us to discover what we’re good at, how to act in the world around us, what we deserve and what we should claim for ourselves. The young people we work with often don’t have the privilege of these role models and they discover in youth workers real heroes. Through our work, we always discover each individual young person has their specific needs and expectations. However, there are patterns that emerge. A majority of the young women we work with have low confidence and struggle with their body image. We recently did a survey at Hanham Youth Club that showed 86% of young women weren't happy with the way they look, while 23% of young men wanted to change their appearance. Art articulates, punctuates and communicates, whilst giving a space for free thinking to express who you want to be and the world around you. By providing high quality creative opportunities we enable young people to express themselves and feel empowered. Our creative and youth work team We have found that our balanced teams produce better work and our gender-balanced leadership makes better decisions. We are proud that 60% of our staff are women, including representation in management positions. Our staff needs to be diverse to represent young women and to truly empower them. From creative youth workers, to our management, we stand up for equality and a more balanced world, where gender oppression is fought against. So this International Women’s Day, we’ve asked our youth workers and staff: What will you do to build a more inclusive, gender-balanced world? We will enable young women to reach their potential We will challenge stereotypes and bias We will be positive role models for young women We will support and encourage young women We will empower young women to follow their ambitions We will celebrate young women’s achievements We will empower young women to grow their confidence We will encourage young women towards body positivity Find out how you can support our work this International Women’s Day, to help us celebrate the women of tomorrow, and invest in their future.