Creative YOU

Creativity is everywhere. Opportunity is not.     

We are part of the solution. The secret is in our name. Every year Creative Youth Network gives thousands of young people a taste and thirst for the arts and culture and the joy, life-skills and opportunity they bring.   

But we want more.   

Creative YOU is our campaign showcasing how we, you and the engaged, emerging and amazing young creatives we support, come together. 

We want to reveal how, together, we are ambition, quality, cultural democracy and social mobility in action. 

Every young person deserves the right to access creativity and development opportunities in the creative and cultural industries.

It all starts with education.

If all young people have access to creative subjects in school, then talented young people from all backgrounds can pursue their passion, develop crucial skills needed in so many industries and improve their wellbeing.

1. Pledge

Add your name and join the many people passionate about bringing creativity back into our schools.   

With all the pledges we’ll be reaching out to headteachers in Bristol and the South West. We hope this will encourage local academies to give more space to creativity in their curriculum.  

Bristol, being the creative city we know and love, can pave the way for other regions to do the same, showcasing the true value of creativity.  



2. Sign up

Join us by signing up to our newsletter where we share best practice of how to support young people. 

sign up 


3. Find out more

Join us by reading and sharing our CreativeYOU report which shows how our work brings opportunities for creative expression and enables young people to explore their talent, regardless of background or circumstance.  

Download our Creative YOU report


Our engagement workers help 16-25 year olds to get back into employment, education or training. This one to one work is long term, helping young people tackle substantial barriers that prevent them from progressing towards their goal.

We see time and time again how young people with physical disabilities, learning disabilities and mental health issues haven’t had the support they need in order to succeed.

In this blog, we share how we provide an accessible, inclusive and flexible service to accommodate young people’s needs.

Signing up  

Young people are often referred by a professional, who we get in touch with first to find out how the young person would like to be contacted. A call out of the blue can be overwhelming or inconvenient. This allows the young person to save our number and initially receive a text message from a member of our team, introducing themselves and, in time, arrange a good time for a phone or video call.

We recently received a referral for a young person with severe anxiety. They were not ready to meet face to face immediately so our Engagement Worker, Luke, built up to this slowly, beginning with a Skype call.

Luke then met them at their front door, and in time they felt able to go for a walk in the local park for a casual chat around what kind of support they were looking for. They then began to meet in a more formal setting at one of our offices and began doing EET work together.

Creative Youth Network have several office locations across Bristol and all have accessible rooms. We are committed to meeting young people where they are at and progressing at their pace.

The journey to Education, Employment or Training

One signed up, we explore young people’s personal barriers with them. We talk about goals which are aspirational and achievable, and we also ask about a young person’s needs. We set clear expectations from the programme which are entirely personalised to each young person.

This process is young person led and we invest a lot of time in building a solid and trusting relationship. We know how important it is for young people to be comfortable to say what they need and how they want their journey to look. Because we are aware that young people are vulnerable and facing complex issues in their personal life, we are generous, curious and supportive.

We talk openly about health and wellbeing, so we have the flexibility on the programme for young people to go on a break and focus on these parts of their lives. Rather than disengaging and ending support completely, we place work on hold and agree on regular check-ins. Being able to offer long-term support means the work moves at the young person’s pace, focusing on positive and sustainable outcomes. We never rush young people into something that isn’t right for them.

Exploring interests and building community

A young person’s journey to employment, education or training looks different for every individual and includes so much more than just job searching or CV writing. We hone in the young people’s interests and adapt our support to suit them.

For example, Our Engagement Worker Luke recently ran a sports group session with a few young people on the project, one of whom is a wheelchair user. Luke made sure that all exercises were accessible and made adaptions to ensure the young person could join in and enjoy the session to his full capacity.

Building confidence around public transport

It might not be the first thing you think of, but it’s crucial young people are confident in getting around. Funded bus tickets and travel training are common resources available on project. We recently worked with a young person with anxiety and found using a bus to be a stressful experience. Even the thought of being on bus was triggering for them.

We started by talking through where the anxiety came from, then walking to a bus stop and reading the timetable, slowly building up to being able to go one stop on a bus and then travelling for a whole journey! We also have a special fund called the Access Fund which can be used for other forms of travel to be arranged for participant who may not be able to easily travel on buses or trains unaided.

Learning about support young people are entitled to

We often work with young people with physical or mental health conditions to draft a Positive Health Disclosure. We recognise that some young people find it difficult to know how to discuss their needs with potential employers or new educational institutions.

We talk about perceptions of other people around stigma, explore the law and how they are protected under it and exactly how they need to be supported and how best to communicate this.

Our experience shows that with a pre drafted disclosure specific to the young person they feel more confident in broaching the subject and knowing their right and what to expect in a professional or educational setting.

In work or education support

Help doesn’t stop when a young person gets a new job or is in education. We support through enrolment and up to a month after their start date, to ensure a smooth transition.

To help meet specific needs and ensure reasonable adjustments are made, our Engagement Worker usually starts by sending a consult to the educational provider. They will look at a young person’s needs together and see if and how they can be met. We can then attend consultations in person with the young person or arrange a video call to ensure that there is a dedicated, named person who they can continue to check in with, following the dedicated transition period with us.

These are just some of the characteristics of our service which ensures we are providing an accessible, inclusive, and flexible service. How do you make sure young people with disabilities get the help they need and deserve?

How can we help?