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 What makes young people happy? The Princes Trust Youth Index has been tracking young people’s confidence and happiness for 10 years now. During this time young people’s confidence in themselves and their future has taken a tumble. The Index tracks happiness and confidence across a range of areas, and in all but two areas, home/accommodation and qualifications, confidence is higher than happiness. As an indicator of safety and confidence in their futures, this is pretty telling. Digging a bit deeper, the same data shows a correlation between young people’s circumstances and their overall index score. Those not in education, employment or training (NEET), with lower academic attainment and in receipt of free school meals have significantly less happiness and confidence. How does this translate for young people in Bristol? Bristol City Council data from 2017/18 shows that: one in five children under 16 live in low income families (compared to the national average of 17%), 28% of pupils are disadvantaged with lower average attainment at 16 by over 10 percentage points compared to their more advantaged peers. just over three in 10 young people go on to Higher Education compared to nearly 38% across England. nearly one in 10 16-17 year olds were NEET, compared to the national average of 6%. Over 10 years average house prices in Bristol have increased by over £100,000, a third more than the average in England and Wales, and a ‘housing affordability ratio’ that is the highest of all the English Core Cities. All this in a place which has one of the fastest growing populations of young people in the UK. Bristol is blessed with a growing collective potential of young people. We are not a city that is dying from old age, but are we a city maximising our future opportunities by unleashing this potential by enabling all young people to achieve? We live in what the US military has termed a ‘VUCA’ world. Volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity are the reality with which young people are growing up. This is further exacerbated by growing up in the fishbowl that is social media, with 57% of young people saying that this creates an overwhelming pressure to succeed, often comparing themselves to others in ways that make them feel inadequate. What makes young people happy? Overwhelmingly spending time with family and friends. This makes perfect sense. Relationships matter, and continuity of relationship matters more. Non-judgmental and supportive relationships are the rock upon which young people can rely on. Studies show how crucial it is that when young people develop relationships with professionals (teachers, health professionals, youth workers) these can have significantly impact, especially through periods of change and transition - for example, when moving schools or changing carers. This is what youth work is all about - youth workers being there, having developed strong relationships based on trust, means when family relationships break down or go through rough patches, young people are not left alone. Join us in supporting young people to be safe and confident in their future: Please select a donation amount: * £5 Can keep the kettle warm all evening for young people £10 Can cover a tin of paint we use to cover the wear and tear of the building £20 Can pay for a room where a youth worker supports a young person Other Donate How can we help?