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 Reaching out in the local community What is Youth Outreach? Youth outreach is when youth workers take to the streets to get new young people involved with their services and to try and spread the word to as many people as possible. We believe this is crucial in the work we do. Not all young people hear about the opportunities that are available to them through their school or from their local community. That's why we want to reach out and let them know that we are here to offer them support when they need it. The Station is also an ever-changing place. It is defined by the young people who use it at any given time. That's why we want to invite new young people to come along and make it their own. All the activities we run, we organise with young people. This shows confidence in their ability to decide what's best for them and it also guarantees that The Station is youth led, giving young people a place to have their voice heard. Outreach helps us raise awareness of the options and services available for young people: space to have fun, be themselves and receive support when they need it. Last Saturday the four of us spoke with about 50 groups of young people. Although the reaction we received was varied, we had lots of positive involvement. In fact, we were being assessed and have since been told that 20% of the people we talked to actually got involved with Creative Youth Network afterwards. - Marcus, Youth Worker When is it happening? From this week moving forward our youth workers are going into Bristol City Centre and connecting with young people to let them know about The Station, their central youth hub. They're hoping to spread their net wider and include areas such as Castle Park, College Green and Queen's Square, to involve as many people as possible. Our Saturday sessions from 3-5pm will be open to all newcomers and we encourage you to come along, discover the youth centre and help re-imagine it into your own space. Join us for casual fun, listen to music, have a go at karaoke, play some riffs on a guitar. You could even win some free pizza! The Importance of Non-Targeted Work A lot of the funding youth work receives is too often aimed at specific groups, rather than youth as a whole. We recognise the importance of targeted work and run sessions for young people with specific needs. Welcome Wednesday is our session for refugees and asylum seekers, and we also run small project groups for men and women where young people work through issues with youth workers. However, we believe it's important to build a sense of community in Bristol and give all young people access to our services, no matter their needs. This is where our outreach programmes come in. We're aiming to connect with as many young people as possible, from all backgounds. Working with young people as early as possible means we are there for them every step of the way. This often prevents anti-social behaviour, the development of ill mental health or joining unsafe peer groups. This work is more cost effective, as it's possible in a group environment, rather than the intensive one to one support needed when they develop further. I consider the work we did last Saturday to be a success. Not only did we get lots of new people involved, but we helped to raise awareness of who we are and what we do. Reaching out to young people and not only waiting for them to come to us is very important. Over time, we'll be able to build a relationship with young people we talk to and make ourselves even more accessible. - Marcus (Youth Worker) Partnership Work Youth work is, by its very nature, collaborative. We work closely with many partners and as a result, any young people we engage with gain access to a wide variety of other services as well. This allows us to meet all the different needs young people have, either ourselves, or by referring them to one of our partners. Here at The Station we have Off The Record, a mental health charity, Brook, a sexual health clinic, Basement Studios, a youth and music charity, and many more. For full details about our partners please check out our Partners page. Local Leadership Our Station youth work team is part of Bristol Youth Links, Bristol City Council's programme for high quality, safe and reliable services in Bristol for children and young people aged 8-19. Being commissioned by the City Council means our sessions are closely monitored. We deliver quarterly reports and monitor our outcomes closely. Assessors come in on scheduled and unscheduled visits, making sure that our work is of the highest standard. We also have a group of young people who assess the service and give suggestions for new ways to further engage with young people. We’ve recently received feedback from our commissioners and we're proud that they have recognised: Our consistent strong sense of youth participation and the real strong sense of responding to the needs of all young people. Our recognition of the complex needs of young people we work with in open access and one to one. Find out more about getting Advice and Support How can we help?