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 Hard line solutions I try not to be a doomsayer despite my history as an environmental campaigner. Rather than getting into politics I have tried to get things done on the ground, changing lives and supporting people. But more and more I am hearing an unsophisticated political discourse around the NHS and care for the elderly, youth services and education – cut or crisis. But surely there is a third way – not one I would naturally endorse but I feel the time has come. And one I am not hearing from any mainstream public body. South Bristol rising up against council cuts which will 'cause more hardship' for already deprived | Bristol Post https://t.co/kJgZjXfI8O — Bristol Citizen (@bristol_citizen) February 14, 2017 I don’t claim that running a charity or business is the same as running a government but there are some truths that surely carry from one to the other. I’m talking about cuts. There are always efficiencies to be made and in hard times some things are not essential. Like the government, Creative Youth Network has tried to make sure our offer of services is as efficient and effective as possible. At the same time we are trying to increase our income from the hires and rents of our building – the best way we can create unrestricted funding that can subsidise the gaps. But there is a point at which any further cuts means we simply have to help less people or choose who we help. The same is happening in government services almost across the board. The NHS appears to have the worst bed crisis for a generation, care for the elderly is far too limited and is making the end of life a misery for some; prisons seem to be overwhelmed and schools are now talking about asking for voluntary contributions from parents. We see it in our own sector too. Cuts in early intervention services means the costs simply pop up elsewhere. A cut in social services support leads to an increase in young people in care, a reduction in preventative work by the Youth Offending Teams sees more young people getting criminal records, a reduction in youth services and a rise in mental health problems go hand in hand. What do these Bristol City Council cuts mean? pic.twitter.com/uglssEtdwd — BBC Radio Bristol (@bbcrb) January 13, 2017 So, there is only one real answer I can see. When the efficiencies are exhausted and the money is running out, we simply have to raise tax. How we do it and who we tax should be as fair as possible. Loopholes closed and big business forced to pay their way. But raise money we must! Without it, lives will be wasted and costs will continue to rise. We need to get used to the idea that it costs significant amounts of money to run a modern, caring, high functioning state and the sooner we admit the cuts are now doing more damage than they are good the better. How can we help?