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 Why engagement in democracy is crucial. Young people go to Parliament joining the APPG on Youth Affairs Taking young people to Parliament to have their voices heard can be a transformative experience. And that’s just what we did last week. The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Youth Affairs meets several times a year to discuss issues affecting young people. They write a report based on young people’s views and it is debated in parliament. The young people we took were from a range of backgrounds and experiences – from the inner city to rural, with lived experience of everything from asylum seeking to knife crime and mental health. All of them came through Creative Youth Network projects and our partners. One had not even been to London before and so the sight of the houses of parliament was one to behold - although the well-armed policemen and women were also a topic of conversation. Inside, the group joined about 80 others from around the country to debate and discuss the issues they were facing and they felt were important. The sumptuous surroundings belied the seriousness of debate around climate change, votes at 16, hate crime, play and mental health. All of the comments were thoughtful, passionate and considered. The most powerful comments came from those (including one of our group) who had lived experience of knife crime and homelessness. Solutions were offered too – the vital role of youth centres and youth workers came across again and again; the need for more investment in support for those suffering from isolation and school exclusion and the need for training in recognising autism were all made. The demand for action on climate change was almost universal with a 12-year-old articulating how they would be living with the consequences made by politicians today. What came across more than anything was the passion and thoughtfulness of all the comments. Young people are often dismissed by the rest of society for, at best, their naivete and at worst, their hostility to adults and the community. But the young people who attended were anything but. They are the future leaders of our communities and our country and we should be grateful for their concern and commitment to their causes. What engaging in democracy means to young people My highlight of the day was getting the courage to stand up and speak in front of so many people, getting my point across about knife crime, A topic that means a lot to me and I’ve been thinking about for many years. It was an amazing experience which will stay with me for the rest of my life. - Nabiil On the train home I heard three comments that told me how much the trip had meant. One young person – an asylum seeker – talked about how he now felt listened to for the first time at the highest level. One young person who was wondering how to give back to their community said “I might try to become an MP!” and one person said “I was so proud of myself for going somewhere I’ve never been before and standing up in front of a crowd to make my point”. We're grateful to be able to support young people in taking advatange of these opportunities to engage and be listened to, and we're thankful to be supported by funders such as Paul Hamlyn Foundation in providing even more chances for young people across the South West. The work we do at Creative Youth Network might set a young person on a trajectory to becoming leader of our country or it might build their confidence – either way is transformational. Support young people to gain more transformational opportunities: 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?