We're delighted to announce we are one step closer to realising the dream of a £6.5m Creative Enterprise Hub for young people, based in central Bristol. The project aims to renovate the derelict Old Magistrates’ Courts building, which forms part of the site around The Station. 

We have received £300,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to develop our designs and vision with young people over the next 18 months. The primary grant was matched by £100,000 from Bristol City Council’s Neighbourhood Partnership.

If successful, the project will receive £4.5m towards the £6.5m cost of refurbishment. The buildings would not only provide space for enterprise workshops and mentoring, but will also be used to support young people in the creative industries and community projects.

Clive Stevens, Green councillor for Clifton Down Ward and chair of the Neighbourhood Partnership said of the news: “The creative sector is one of Bristol’s many strengths; we are so pleased to see that the grant we awarded is going to lever so much more money from Heritage Lottery and help disadvantaged young people start what could be a great career opportunity and one day maybe one of them will start up something like their own Aardman.”

Sandy Hore-Ruthven, CEO of Creative Youth Network, said: “We’re delighted that we’ve received this support thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Creative Enterprise Hub will revitalise the Old Magistrates’ Courts as a vibrant space for young people and the wider community. It’s great to know that we are a step closer to preserving it for future generations.

“We’re hoping to turn the old cells in the basement into an incubator space with studios. The ground floor will be used as a showing area with a cafe and an exhibit space and the top floors will probably be used for offices.”

Councillor Asher Craig, Deputy Mayor of Bristol, added: “Building an environment where young people from poor or disadvantaged backgrounds have access to opportunities to develop is critical to tackling inequality. I welcome Creative Youth Network’s imaginative proposal for the future use of the Old Magistrates’ Court.

“This project is an example of the type of action needed if we are to connect the benefits of a booming cultural scene to communities, particularly young people, and develop a city where everyone’s experience is one of hope and ambition.”

Over the next 18 months, we will be consulting with young people and the local community on the best way we can use the space and transform it into a hub of creativity in the city.