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 Young people meet Baroness Barran MBE It’s not often young people get to speak with a new minister just after they’ve been appointed and are looking for new ideas. It is a real opportunity to make sure future projects meet young people’s needs. Baroness Diana Barran MBE, a Conservative Peer, is now the new Minister for Civil Society (the Ministry which covers youth) and she visited The Station to talk to young people and youth workers on Friday morning. A New Youth Investment Fund At the last Chancellor’s statement, a few weeks ago, Sajid Javid, announced a new Youth Investment Fund that would support the creation of new youth centres, refurbishment of the old and running costs. No doubt, this is largely in response to the growing awareness of knife crime, mental health, isolation and anti-social behaviour. UK Youth and other agencies, including Creative Youth Network, have been highlighting the role that youth work plays in both prevention and response to issues like these. The Chancellor has responded to calls from @UKYouth by announcing plans to work with @DCMS to develop a new Youth Investment Fund to build new youth centres and invest in existing ones! #YouthCharter — Anna Smee 🇬🇧🇪🇺 (@AnnaSmee1) September 4, 2019 It appears that the government have listened and whilst any funding will largely replace what has been lost through austerity it is welcome none the less. We are not sure when the full announcement will be made but we know it is soon and I’m sure the looming general election has played its part in focussing the minds of MPs and Ministers on the problems of the day. Young people’s voices have to be heard Creative Youth Network believes that the most effective way of tackling societal issues is listening to those who are the most affected by these problems. So we’ve invited five young people from across our work in Bristol and South Gloucestershire to share their stories and have a conversation with the Minister Barran. We heard about how youth clubs had given young people suffering from abuse a safe place to be, how staff support has helped a disabled young person find their voice. One young person started as a participant and is now volunteering at his youth club - helping to mentor others. All of the young people were powerful and articulate in highlighting the importance of long-term relationships with the staff – helping them on their journey through the difficulties they faced. They also highlighted how important open access youth work is – offering a place to have fun, meet friends and try new things that was often the gateway to them getting the support they needed later in their teenage years. Diana asked them about the importance of social media in finding out about what was on offer and there was a long discussion about the importance of really high-quality spaces. Interestingly the young people were adamant they would rather see more ‘functional’ spaces across their communities rather than a few ‘super-shiny’ places. Long-term relationships are key The Minister came away with a clear view of the importance of youth work and, more importantly, the importance of long-term relationships and therefore long-term funding. She acknowledged that the piecemeal funding of issues (e.g. a fund for knife crime, a fund for isolation or a fund for getting into work) was not helpful and that longer term funding to build relationships is a better investment for preventing all of these problems occurring in the first place. The announcement on the new fund will be made soon and it is a pleasure to know that young people from Bristol and South Glos may have helped shape government investment in their future. How can we help?