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 The importance of organisational culture and transparency in safeguarding The revelations of inappropriate conduct from staff at Oxfam and Save the Children have come as a shock to us all. The abhorrent behaviour of a few members of management have tarnished the UK's important contribution to those in crisis. And whilst the accusations fly about whether this is a widespread systemic problem or reason to reduce our aid budget to the world, it is worth bearing in mind what challenges charities face and what we do to protect the vulnerable people we work with. Charities like ours, which work with vulnerable people, know that predators will target us as a way of getting to those they might abuse. Working or volunteering for a charity bestows an aura of trust and respectability. Abuse can be forced onto a victim, perpetrated through a veneer of trust which is false, but which makes the victim feel like the abuser is acting in their best interests. A ‘friendship’ or ‘loving relationship’ can mask abuse of the worst kind. While I wish it were not so, the reality is that all charities must live with and be vigilant towards this risk. Before any other support can be given to a young person, we must first guarantee their safety. So, this media storm gives us the chance to explain how we do that within Creative Youth Network. We follow set policies and procedures; our safeguarding procedures are aligned with those of the Police and Social Services, with whom we work closely and meet regularly. But the most important element to safeguarding our young people is the culture of the organisation. Staff and volunteers must feel comfortable reporting any behaviour they think is risky. This is about regular training, modelling appropriate behaviour to younger staff and volunteers and having a clear whistleblowing policy. There is no place for complacency, if there is any level of concern we must fully act on it. Whistleblowing policy will sit forgotten on a shelf unless managers, directors and trustees are seen as supportive of anyone who might blow the whistle on dangerous behaviour. At the same time, the culture allows staff to challenge each other. Young people might see a member of staff as ‘saving’ them from a difficult situation in their lives, blurring the boundaries of the relationship in the young person’s eyes. It’s vital that staff members recognise the signs and make sure that boundaries are clear. Staff are regularly trained to know what to do in this situation and have regular supervision with line managers. We also run resilience training for young people where we discuss how to keep safe both off and online. Creative Youth Network has been targeted in the past and our systems have been robust enough to prevent any abuse. But, of course, we must remain vigilant. We have a clear range of procedures to highlight potential problems and a legal duty to report any safeguarding issues to Social Services and the Charity Commission. In the words of The International Development Committee, we're meant to be the good guys. We're meant to be the ones that help people see the abuse of which they are a victim, and help them create a situation where they are no longer abused. Keeping vulnerable people safe needs to be a constant part of our daily roles, not a policy that is drafted and then left on the shelf. It is about training, policy, security checks, making sure staff know what to do. But it is also about culture and transparency. How can we help?