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.

Bringing youth workers together - South Glos Youth Work Conference

It’s important to remind ourselves of why we do what we do and ensure our ‘Youth Work in Action’ is the best it can be for young people in an ever-challenging world. Read more

How Youth Work Enables Young People to Be Active Members of Their Communities and Society

Find out more about the impact of volunteering in our youth centres and how it changes young people's lives. Read more

What makes young people happy?

This youth work week, we look at what makes young people happy and the role youth work plays in it. Read more

How we enable young people to be skilled and equipped to earn and learn

How we work with young people who are not in education, employment or training is based on our youth work principles: building relationships based on trust and working towards eliminating barriers for young people. Read more

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. Read more

"We need a healthy planet" - we joined young people on the climate strike

As young people are more and more worried about their futures, we joined the climate strike in solidarity. Joe explains why he's passionate about the environment and how it made him feel to be joined by thousands on the streets of Bristol. Read more

Why raising awareness about mental health is not enough

For young people to reach their potential, we need to ensure services are in place to promote physical and mental wellbeing. Raising awareness and removing stigma around mental health is great, but not enough to take care of the minds of tomorrow. Read more

Young people meet Baroness Barran MBE

Baroness Diana Barran MBE visits The Station to talk to young people and youth workers about their needs and issues. Read more

Home Affairs Committee calls for investment to protect young people from serious harm

The Home Affairs Committee deems the Government's response to the rise in serious youth violence completely inadequate. We join the call for major investment in local youth services and prevention work. Read more

How Deep Is Your Raj?

A conversation between our Creative Producer, Emily Bull, and our commissioned artist for the summer show at Creative Youth Network, Deepraj Singh. Read more

How can we help?