Creative YOUCreativity is everywhere. Opportunity is not. We are part of the solution. The secret is in our name. Every year Creative Youth Network gives thousands of young people a taste and thirst for the arts and culture and the joy, life-skills and opportunity they bring. But we want more. Creative YOU is our campaign showcasing how we, you and the engaged, emerging and amazing young creatives we support, come together. We want to reveal how, together, we are ambition, quality, cultural democracy and social mobility in action. Every young person deserves the right to access creativity and development opportunities in the creative and cultural industries. It all starts with education. If all young people have access to creative subjects in school, then talented young people from all backgrounds can pursue their passion, develop crucial skills needed in so many industries and improve their wellbeing. 1. Pledge Add your name and join the many people passionate about bringing creativity back into our schools. With all the pledges we’ll be reaching out to headteachers in Bristol and the South West. We hope this will encourage local academies to give more space to creativity in their curriculum. Bristol, being the creative city we know and love, can pave the way for other regions to do the same, showcasing the true value of creativity. PLEDGE 2. Sign up Join us by signing up to our newsletter where we share best practice of how to support young people. sign up 3. Find out more Join us by reading and sharing our CreativeYOU report which shows how our work brings opportunities for creative expression and enables young people to explore their talent, regardless of background or circumstance. Download our Creative YOU report About us Blog We build strong communities, which no terrorist act can divide It seems to be the norm that British politics takes over all other news but let’s not forget that over the last three weeks there have been two serious terror attacks in the UK. Terror affects us all! I grew up in London in the 70s and 80s when the IRA bombing campaign was in full swing. My parents’ block of flats was bombed because an MP had their London home there. Thankfully, no one was hurt. In fact, as so many in Manchester and London have shown, it often brings people together. The residents association in my parents’ flat became a hive of activity with neighbours talking to each other in a way they never had before. Our elections, terrorism and Brexit point to less talking and understanding throughout our country – between remainers and Brexiteers, North and South, Muslim and Christian, rich and poor. Our country is becoming more polarised and at the fringes it spills over into hatred, violence and terrorism. When we discuss terrorism, we often describe an ‘act of war’. It is a defined, violent and single act whether perpetrated by a terrorist or an army, but peace is built by a thousand acts. A kind word, a community festival or a diplomatic effort. All of them attempts by people to understand each other. They rarely make the news but they are the foundations of our families, friendships, communities and countries. By learning to understand each other, we build our society on bonds that are far more difficult to break than our formal laws. The work done by charities, youth and community workers to bring communities together, help them understand each other and make friends is part of the bedrock of our stable society. Is the polarisation partly a result of cuts to these services? When the economy tanked in 2008, the country has responded by slowly cutting back on these sorts of ‘non-essential’ activities. Surely, we should have done the opposite. At Creative Youth Network, we still do this – with limited funding and means. Our Welcome Wednesdays group supports newly arrive asylum seekers to learn English, meet new friends and understand British culture. We run city wide gigs, events and even hustings, bringing together young people from across the city. Whether it is young people seen as gangsters from St Paul’s or ‘chavs’ from South Bristol – our aim is to challenge these stereotypes not through rhetoric or new policies but by small acts of friendship and understanding – helping to build peace in the West of England at least. How can we help?