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 MPs praise the value of youth work in parliamentary debate - Now it's time to reverse damaging funding cuts After Theresa May’s last PMQs, on Wednesday 24th July, the House of Commons debated for the first time in years the state of youth work in the UK, with a dwindling attending from MPs. The Government called this debate in response to the publication of an enquiry by the APPG (all-party parliamentary group) on youth affairs, which was published in April. MPs who managed to stay spoke passionately about young people and the role of youth work in helping them to keep away from crime and to reach their potential, in cross-bench agreement. Building trusting relationships The impact of youth work comes from building trusting relationships with young people, relationships whose impact ripples through entire lives. We saw this in the debate when Labour MP Lyn Brown acknowledged she would not be standing in the chamber without the support of youth workers: “Youth services are about so much more than just fixing crime. I remember going to a youth club when I was young. It was at St John’s in north Woolwich. I received validation of my rights as a young person that I did not get from anywhere else. I do not think I would have got the confidence that has eventually led to me being here without that youth service. I want to publicly and belatedly thank Esther Wilson, Anne King, Nick Nicholls and Dave Butcher. I would not have made it without them. “ In fact, there was very little disagreement from all involved that youth services are a key service supporting young people. Representatives from all parties also agreed that youth work had suffered huge cuts over the last 10 years. ,@bbradleymp stands up and calls for a stronger offer for young people before praising the journey the @YouthAPPG has been on and the rare occasion that both sides of the house have found consensus on the need for better and more youth services for young people — NYA (@natyouthagency) July 24, 2019 One MP pointed out that as a non-statutory service it had been one of the first services to be cut by many local authorities. Vicky Foxcroft MP summed up for the Labour Party and listed grim statistics that illustrated the change: "Spending on youth services has fallen by 70%, 760 youth centres have closed their doors and over 14,000 youth workers have lost their jobs in the last decade." Of course, this is only the tip of the iceberg and we cannot know how many young people have missed out as a result. Decline in youth work training Youth services are a profession in decline and some may argue that we have reached a tipping point where the loss of skills, training programmes for youth workers and loss of youth centres mean this is no longer attracting skilled staff which in turn reduces the quality of the work. All in the debate agreed this decline had contributed to the rise in knife crime, loneliness, isolation and mental health issues in young people. They highlighted too that piecemeal funding does nothing to prevent problems arising or keep a core service in place. It is particularly difficult for smaller organisations. They highlighted the role played by charities in keeping services going despite local authority cuts and MPs praised the entrepreneurial approach many charities, like Creative Youth Network, use to keep services open but, this is a fragile way to run a service. Project work can’t replace long term, sustained youth work Several MPs pointed out that 95% of youth spending goes on NCS (the National Citizenship Service) – that’s £1.5bn since it started in 2016, a similar amount to the cuts faced by youth work in the UK. Many argued that although NCS is a perfectly good programme, it is a poor investment in our young people, as it’s only for 15-17 year olds and does not provide the long term support needed by many young people. NCS has also been under-spending because it has not hit recruitment targets. £50m could be reallocated to youth work immediately and the Minister for Sport and Civil society, Mims Davies, promised to look into this but with no commitment. She promised too to undertake a review of youth services and introduce a new Youth Charter – articulating the Governments commitment to young people. The review will take place over the Autumn. However, there was no promise of new funding or resources. Nor was there a promise to look at putting youth services on a statutory footing, offering a guaranteed minimum service. This feels like words with little action. Given the new Government priority to deliver Brexit, it seems unlikely anything will change soon. But the mood music is changing and there is a cross party realisation of the value of youth work and the role it plays in helping young people reach their potential. This is why we are joining the youth sector ask calling on Boris Johnson PM for new investment of £50 million (primarily reallocated from NCS underspend) into positive activities for disadvantaged young people to enable them to reach their potential. The youth sector is calling on @BorisJohnson for new investment of £50 million (primarily reallocated from NCS underspend) into positive activities for disadvantaged young people to enable them to fulfil their potential #StandWithYouth https://t.co/k5IkVoC9m5 — CreativeYouthNetwork (@Creative_Youth) July 25, 2019 We believe this is a necessary first step in ensuring crucial emergency and preventative services are in place, investing in the future of our country. What do you think? Let us know in the comments below. How can we help?