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 Friendship bracelets and letters exchange: Bristol & The Gambia Our East Youth Work team have been working with local young people to make a difference to children in Africa over the last few weeks. One of our young people, Nyima Touray, is currently undertaking her Youth Achievement bronze award. One of her personal goals was to help children in Africa take part in some fun activities when she visited in this month. Word soon spread of Nyimas trip to Africa and other young people who attend Meadow Vale Junior Night and Hilfields Junior night also wanted to do something nice for the children in The Gambia. How could we bring two groups of young people together thousands of miles away from one another? Young people came up with the idea of making friendship bracelets and writing a small letter to separate young people. Staff supported the young people by buying the equipment and supporting them to write their small letters. Nyima also spent every day running different activities from teaching gymnastics, running arts and crafts sessions, helping to teach rugby with her 14 year old sister Kaira and taught dance routines. She is on target for getting her Bronze award but most of all have achieved her goal and making other young people happy. Nyima visited The Gambia (West Africa) and met lots of local children. She handed out all the letters and friendship bracelets from Creative Youth Networks youth groups and supported the young people to write a letter back. The young people loved the loom band bracelet making and also the knowledge the bracelets and their letters will be travelling thousands of miles back to the UK. The young people from Meadow Vale and Hillfields Youth Club are eagerly awaiting their responses from young people in The Gambia which they will be receiving this week. This has been a fantastic international opportunity and we're happy to have brought children from two continents together to enjoy activities and, most of all, have fun. Find out more about Hillfields Youth Club.