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 have always had a clear vision that Creative Youth Network must serve all young people in the city and the region; it should reach into the corners that are often untouched and support the young people who need it most. If we don’t then we are failing those who could benefit so much from the amazing care and support our teams offer.  

But, right from the start – even when we were a very small organisation - I recognised that Creative Youth Network didn’t have all the answers and we weren’t embedded in every community. At the same time there are many amazing organisations across Bristol delivering great work with young people.   They are often led by the communities they serve, understand the cultural nuance, neighbourhoods and streets where they work; some have been there for generations and know the mums, dads, grandparents, friends and families of the young people. A knowledge and understanding that cannot be replicated in any other way than sustained work and dedication. And a knowledge that can have deep and lasting impact on young people’s lives. 

So, I knew that Creative Youth Network should work in partnership with others – not replicate or takeover what was already there. I wanted our services to be a real collaboration, bringing the skills and expertise of Creative Youth Network and our amazing staff with those organisations deeply embedded in their communities. 

As a result, over 15 years I am proud to say that we work closely with nearly 50 organisations – and by this, I mean we have weekly contact with them, sharing information and ideas and making sure young people have the best possible advice and support. This means that nearly £1/2m flows through Creative Youth Network to other organisations large and small. They deliver everything from open access youth clubs to one-to-one mentoring.     

Organisations like Horn Youth Concern – reaching into the heart of the Somali community and offering young people activities and support. ACE (Aspiration, Creation, Elevation) working out of Docklands to support young people in the heart of St Pauls. Youth Moves and Young Bristol both deliver amazing youth clubs in South Bristol too. Wickwar Youth runs the village youth centre and the YOU Foundation runs skate sessions and the youth club in Staple Hill. Our arts partnerships are key too, helping us give opportunities to disadvantaged young people in the Old Vic, Grayson Perry at the Arnolfini and more. These organisations offer something no one else can and as a result young people are better able to reach their potential.

The list is long, and you can see more on our website…

But local organisations don’t cover everywhere – in fact young people in large swathes of the region have no opportunities at all.  This is where Creative Youth Network comes in. We directly deliver hundreds of sessions and support thousands of young people where others do not – we have embedded ourselves in communities where no one else is and offer services and support that compliment what others are doing – help getting young people into work, mental health support, supporting young carers and refugees.

I am proud to say that these partnerships are award winning – we have won two CYP Now Awards over the last 5 years for our partnership work.  As a city we are one of the most innovative and collaborative places in the UK.

This does not mean everything is perfect or easy. There are plenty of difficult negotiations to have, problems that arise and things we wish we could change. But this culture of collaboration we have created, built a trust and understanding that ultimately serves young people better. When staff know who is doing what in the city and they trust each other to deliver then young people can be directed to the best organisation for the support they need.

How can we help?