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 Helping care leavers find employment In the past year, we worked with 138 young care leavers aged 16-25, providing one to one job coaching support. 91 moved into education, employment and training. Our success is based on building supportive relationships with young people. In order to do so, we have come to understand the complex barriers that hold young care leavers back when looking for employment, education or training: • Young people we work with might have no qualification because their school was disrupted by going into care or moving homes. • Some have suffered from poor mental health, caused by the emotional implication or their upbringing which led them to going into care. • Others have low self-confidence and emotional resilience due to trauma, being in care and lack of positive relationships in their lives. • Most have poor independent living skills and employability skills due to missing out on learning from parents and guardians. • There is a lack of financial support from parents and family, and having to live independently when not knowing how to do so successfully (often leading to money problems and dept) How we work with young care leavers Despite the barriers facing young care leavers, the ambition and goals of these young people are achievable with the right support. The young people we work with have potential, skills and high aims. We are there every step of the way to help them find the right opportunities and break down the barriers they face. Our success is due to our model of building strong and supportive relationships, which includes: Flexibility We meet young people in places which are convenient for them: their homes, cafes, in our offices etc. We are also flexible in the type of communication that suits them and their personality: whether text, phone, social media, email or face to face. Understanding Due to the barriers young care leavers face, making and keeping appointments can be particularly difficult. We are patient and forgiving if appointments need to be rearranged again and again, and understand we need to go at the young person’s pace, even if progress is slow. Strong inter-agency work We build working relationships with both social workers and personal advisors, foster carers, and also other agencies such as training providers, apprenticeship agencies, employers, Youth Offending Team, in order to create a support network around each young person. A holistic approach We build a trusting relationship with each young person, which means they can come to us with other problems and issues as well as for support for getting them in education, employment or training. We look at all aspects of their wellbeing in order to help them progress and reach their goals. Knowledge of provision We not only have a thorough knowledge of mainstream education and employment, but also alternative provision and other charities and services that can support care leavers in all aspects of their lives. Recognising the achievements of young people in care Children in care and care leavers are often under-represented when it comes to acknowledging their achievements. All of the young people we've worked with have a strong desire to learn and achieve their potential. Our work is focused on enabling them to do their best and we will continue to support them by recognising the barriers they have to overcome. You can come celebrate with us the achievements of young people in care and care leavers at the Exceptional People In Care (EPIC) Awards, organised by the Bristol City Council, happening later in the year. Read more about young care leavers' stories How can we help?