Creative YOUCreativity 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. PLEDGE 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 About us Blog Together, We Can | Children in Need – Helping young people back into employment, education or training after the pandemic Today we’ll watch our favourite celebrities take to the screen for Children in Need, with the theme “together we can change young lives”. I wanted to share how at Creative Youth Network we have been working to help disadvantaged young people to gain confidence, develop new skills and get ready to get back into education, employment or training in 2021. Our Creative Careers courses, supported by Children in Need and Youth Futures Foundation, are for 16-25 year olds who are not in education, employment or training. In 2021, we’ve been excited to bring back delivering these courses in person, as we have seen first-hand how the pandemic has greatly affected young people’s chances for the future, their mental health and aspirations. We delivered three courses, in event management, fashion and graffiti & photography. We brought together groups of young people to learn new skills, find community again, often after being isolated, and re-gain their confidence. Fighting isolation Many young people came to us in 2021 after long period of times of loneliness, mental health issues. Our courses have done wonders for young people’s wellbeing, being free, accessible and a place to create new connections to peers who are in the same situation. We’ve seen so much joy from being able to meet face to face again this year, meet others and learn together, a great first step to getting back into a course or job. We’ve seen young people who lost jobs due to the pandemic in the hospitality sector, travel, retail and creative industries. Many young people on our courses had just finished a key year in their education from their bedrooms and needed guidance and a stepping stone towards what to do next. “The course gave me the confidence and focus I needed to be able to talk about my skills and abilities with passion again. This was very helpful in interviews. I was so disconnected throughout lockdowns, and when we all came together, I found myself again. It was the boost I needed. I now have a job that makes me happy. Thank you for your amazing help!” – Hannah, 21 (not her real name) Re-gaining self-worth In our courses, we work in partnership with other community organisations. For photography & graffiti, young people put together an exhibition at People’s Republic of Stokes Croft. Having audiences see their work led to young people feeling valued, empowered, regaining their sense of self-worth. Having youth workers for personal one-to-one support also means that we can identify mental health problems which haven’t yet be diagnosed. For example, when we first met Rebecca (not her real name), she was very excited to get stuck in and take on a lot of work on the course. She was very active, communicative, and upbeat. She would also do a lot of work in a short period of time, she would take on creative projects, and also go out and get a part-time job very quickly. However, things changed in a couple of weeks and she became un-responsive to her youth worker. She came in late to the course, she was visibly going through a hard time and feeling down. We had a chat about whether she’d asked her GP for a mental health referral. We liaised with her GP with her consent and now Rebecca has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and she is waiting to access therapy. The diagnosis has helped Rebecca understand her mood swings and behaviours and she is now learning coping mechanisms which help her. We continue to be there every step of the way. Young people’s paths back into education, employment and training are complex, but we are here to help and bring opportunity for self-belief, community and skills progression. Our employment support courses are supported by Inspiring Futures, a joint fundring programme between BBC Children in Need and the Youth Futures Foundation. Thank you for your support! How can we help?