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 is lockdown affecting young people? We've all gone digital, right!?!! Not all of us it turns out. Who would have thought that hand written letters would come back into fashion? But some young people are writing to friends every day - inspired by a broken phone and a Harry Potter writing set that sat unused in a bedroom. I think that being a teenager during lockdown must be the most difficult age. So I went out (digitally of course) and asked some of the young people we are working with how they have found lockdown. Like the rest of us, there is a really mixed response. Creative Youth Network works with some of the most vulnerable young people and one young woman said that she “has been in lockdown for the last year because of her anxiety and depression - everyone is having to live like me now”. One care leaver who lives in a one room flat described lockdown as: like being in prison - the room is smaller than a cell Futures are at risk Some are worried about their futures: I'm finding it difficult to look for jobs at the moment. I've done a bricklaying course but no one is looking for people at the moment. I'm worried about whether there will be any jobs when we come out of lockdown. Digital poverty There is false information flying around too. Refugees who don't have English as a first language are struggling to get clear messages and sometimes social media is not the best place to get information. Some young people have no digital access in the first place. Meaning they are missing school and the support they might otherwise receive. To help tackle this Creative Youth Network distributed over 70 tablets to young people with no access to the internet - some because they were in temporary accommodation, others because they are sharing a phone with their mum or dad and aren't able to access school, activities and support online. Some even admitted to missing school: “I find it difficult to concentrate at home and get my work done”. The structure of school is helpful it seems. Others find it easier to work at home though - one young person said she found it “easier without social and teacher pressure”. Some problems are a little more 'first world': “My mum cut my hair - I went upstairs and my sister saw me, screamed and ran off saying there was a stranger in the house!” But the overwhelming response I got was “I'm bored, I want to see my friends”. Houseparty and TikTok are all very well but it's not the same as meeting up with your mates. “I miss seeing my friends and I just find it difficult to concentrate when everything is on a screen”. Services continue online Tempting as it may be, the good news is young people are staying at home! Creative Youth Network key workers have been out and about to make sure young people are getting the message and they have seen very few young people on the streets. Instead, young people are turning to online activities. Creative Youth Network has opened all of its youth clubs online. Our Creative Courses are busier than ever and the waiting list continues to grow. Creativity is a lifeline Lockdown has inspired young people too. Some have taken up art or music, many are trying new things and our young creatives have been making art inspired by lockdown. Most are enjoying more time with their parents too and some are inspired by the sense of community: “outdoor karaoke with our neighbours” was a highlight for one despite “mum bringing out a microphone”. But when lockdown starts to ease off, expect our young people to be bursting with energy. One of Creative Youth Networks young trustees summed it up by saying: “We are just going to want to express ourselves in whatever way we can!”. Watch out for a burst of creativity in the coming months. Youth services after the lockdown When our doors open again, we will welcome this energy and we’ll continue to provide a safe space where we can continue to build relationships with young people. As a recent article in The Guardian points out, there are now 2 million more vulnerable eight to 19-year-olds needing help because of the pandemic, according to new research from the National Youth Agency. Our work is more vital than ever to ensure this generation’s future is not jeopardised by this difficult time in all our lives. Support vulnerable young people and donate now: Please select a donation amount: * £7 Could cover the cost of telephone conversations between a youth worker and a vulnerable young person in isolation £12 Could give a young carer an evening of fun activities, taking a break from their caring responsibilities, in a small group session online £25 Could provide an hour’s online specialist support for a young person struggling with their mental health Other This is a monthly paymentDonate How can we help?