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


I went to the garden centre the other day and lo and behold, when I was purchasing a couple of flower pots, the person behind the counter was James (NB not his real name). James is a young person we’d worked with for a number of years at the Station. We got chatting about old times, how we got the Station up and running together and the various ups and downs in his life over the last three years.

At Creative Youth Network, we walked some of that journey with him. I know his experience with us helped James build his confidence and got him his first apprenticeship and then a job.

This reminded me of the obvious, but often overlooked, point that life is a journey for all of us. We all have ups and downs, good days and bad. It’s also true that those with difficult starts in life often find themselves having more bad than good.I also know he’s continued to battle with other issues after this success. Struggling with his mental health and body image has, on occasions, affected his ability to work, his relationships and, ultimately, his living arrangements.

Yet the work we do is measured in ‘outcomes’ and ‘destinations’, such as increased self-confidence, developing better personal relationships, getting a job, re-joining education. This is very useful for us to know we’re focussing our efforts in the right way and the young people we work with achieve important goals in their lives through working with us.

It also helps us explain to those who aren’t in the same sector what we do, how we work and what we strive for. In turn this helps us find funding for our work and so the cycle continues.

However, the deeper we get into ‘measuring’ the more I see its limitations. A good day can turn into a bad one for many young people in the blink of an eye.

A young person came into our office today, having arrived at a new workplace to start his apprenticeship only to be told there’d been an ‘administrative error’ and he was no longer needed. He was gutted, his dreams of being able to support himself and get his life going again having been dashed.

But on our outcomes sheet he has been ‘in employment’ and we can tick that box, as he managed to get through the door. Of course, our dedicated staff sat down with him straight away, putting aside other work they need to do. They helped him calm down and started the process of looking for something else.

A grinning staff member, with someone else who is turned away from the camera

However, his work isn’t measured. The immediate response he got, someone to reassure him that it wasn’t his fault and the support of having someone to listen and guide him through. Not is the relationship we built with him so that we were the first place he turned to when things went wrong.

Teachers, nurses, social workers, youth workers – they’re all being asked to measure what they do, but it is worth remembering none of us has ‘arrived’ at our destination yet – we only reach points along the way.

How can we help?