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 Why supporting our Chief Executive in his ambition to run for office is the civic thing to do We are six months away from Bristol’s Mayoral election, and the coming weeks will see an increasing tempo to political life in the City. It’s public knowledge that Sandy Hore-Ruthven, Chief Executive of Creative Youth Network, is standing as the Green candidate for Mayor, and I wanted to take this opportunity to describe some of the thinking and discussion at Creative Youth Network’s Board as to how we plan to manage any issues that may arise for the charity as a result. Firstly, it’s important to say that Sandy enjoys the Board and senior colleagues' complete support in his efforts to become Mayor. Not in any political way, but in a civic way. It seems entirely appropriate to us that we support a citizen of Bristol who wants to run for elected office since it’s crucial to our devolving democracy that we do. It’s also important to acknowledge, and explore, some of the challenges that may arise when the citizen concerned is Chief Executive of a charity that, for example, bids for, and delivers, services on behalf of Bristol City Council. We need to be mindful of the many stakeholders that Creative Youth Network has, from our beneficiaries, volunteers and staff, to our funders, partners, commissioners and supporters. Creative Youth Network is an important part of the fabric of city life, and as Chief Executive Sandy is one of the most visible champions for our work and the many thousands of young people whom we serve. We have considered the Charity Commission guidance on the legal and regulatory framework for charities wishing to engage in campaigning and political activity. This doesn’t entirely fit with our circumstances, but the guidance does stipulate that as Trustees we must not allow the charity to be used as a vehicle for the expression of the political views of any individual staff member. To that end Sandy has already agreed to scrupulously distinguish in what capacity he is attending meetings. In addition, to avoid any muddying of the boundaries in the immediate run up to the election in May 2020, we have agreed that from mid-February 2020 Sandy will be taking unpaid leave from Creative Youth Network. This ensures that for the most intense part of the campaign, Sandy will not be involved in the day-to-day running of the charity which will pass to our Chief Operating Officer Jack Beech and Chief Financial Officer Mark Coates. Should Sandy be successful in his bid to become Mayor this structure will continue as we recruit a new CEO. If Sandy is unsuccessful, he will return to his full-time role as CEO. We have established a sub-committee of the Board responsible for dealing with any issues arising from this situation, including reputational risk to the charity, our partners and funders, and will ensure they are referred immediately to this group. We believe that we have the procedures in place to cover any potential conflicts of interest and ensure Creative Youth Network continues to thrive. This blog is part of a range of ongoing activity to inform and engage colleagues, key stakeholders and supporters in our efforts to ensure we are as transparent as possible in our approach to fulfilling our responsibilities over the coming months. I want to reassure everyone that the Board of Trustees and Sandy have agreed a robust set of procedures to cover any potential conflicts of interest whilst allowing Creative Youth Network to continue to thrive, and Sandy to exercise his civic duty. If you wish to highlight any concerns, or if you have any questions, please do contact me, Mike Lea, as Chair of the Board of Trustees at [email protected] Editors note: This post was originally published in May 2019 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness How can we help?