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 How can we make youth work even more effective? Youth Work Week 2018 As we celebrate Youth Work Week I’m reminded of something a former mayor of Bogata, once said: “Children are a kind of indicator species. If we can build a successful city for children, we will have a successful city for all people.” On that basis, where are the successful places? Take Bristol, for example. Dubbed "cool, classy and supremely creative" and the UK’s most desirable place to live by the Sunday Times in 2017, Bristol also includes some of the poorest parts of England. Depending on the data you look at, it is possible to say that Bristol is both a wealthy city, and deprived; that citizens enjoy high levels of health and wellbeing, and high levels of complex health needs. Paradox is at the heart of city life, informing the context within which youth services are delivered. Bristol's young people And when it comes to young people, the statistics are pretty stark. According to Bristol’s most recent Joint Strategic Needs Assessment, for example, 1 in 10 children aged 5-15 have a diagnosable mental health problem, doubling to 1 in 5 in those aged 16 and 17. That’s an estimated 9,300 young people. Think about it. That’s equivalent to 9 or 10 average-sized secondary schools full of pupils. In addition there are thousands of young people without a diagnosis, struggling to cope with the everyday stresses and strains of life including family and peer relationships, and engaging with education. We’ve all seen the headlines recently about the little understood issue of loneliness in young people. 16 to 24 year olds, despite their hyper-connectivity and social media networks, feel lonely more often than any other age group. This wide spectrum of conditions all impact on the young person experiencing them, but the effects go far beyond - to family, friends, the wider community, with the ripples extending to a city, regional and national level. This is creating an increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world for young people, characterised by challenges that are both intricate and inter-related. Youth workers are young people's rocks So what can be done? Amongst this sea of statistics, youth workers can be the rock upon which the good mental health and emotional well-being of young people develops. And rocks matter to young people – the steadiness of continuity and consistency, the reliability of key relationships with trusted adults, the reassurance of knowing where to turn for support, the open mindedness and fairness of people who are there to meet their needs and not judge. If young people are to acquire the resilience and skills they need to develop, learn and achieve throughout adolescence and into early adulthood, they must have access to well-resourced, skilled and accessible youth work at all stages of their life. There’s hope for Bristolians in this time of crushing austerity. Bristol City Council’s targeted youth services will support 3,500 young people each year, particularly those who need support to manage a range of social, health, education and skills needs. But we need to do much more. We need to respond better to the mental health and wellbeing needs of young people, ensuring youth centres are open in local communities as well as bespoke and targeted services to meet individual needs when necessary. To do otherwise is to undermine the opportunity of young people to reach their potential. That’s why Creative Youth Network has placed specially trained Wellbeing Practitioners into our locality youth work teams to work with young people on mental health and wellbeing issues in open-access and targeted sessions. This Youth Work Week we at Creative Youth Network are celebrating all the youth workers (and they come in a range of guises) who are connecting with, supporting, sustaining, amplifying the voices of, and advocating for, young people everywhere. But we’re also calling for far more investment in Wellbeing Practitioners in places, like youth centres, where young people already are, so that every young person has easy access to a wellbeing professional when and where they need them. This could make a massive difference to young people’s lives and futures and contribute to more successful places for us all. But that’s just our view – what do you think would make youth work even more effective? Join the conversation #YWW18 @Creative_Youth How can we help?