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 Turning the old Magistrates' Court into a Creative Enterprise Hub We're delighted to announce we are one step closer to realising the dream of a £6.5m Creative Enterprise Hub for young people, based in central Bristol. The project aims to renovate the derelict Old Magistrates’ Courts building, which forms part of the site around The Station. We have received £300,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to develop our designs and vision with young people over the next 18 months. The primary grant was matched by £100,000 from Bristol City Council’s Neighbourhood Partnership. If successful, the project will receive £4.5m towards the £6.5m cost of refurbishment. The buildings would not only provide space for enterprise workshops and mentoring, but will also be used to support young people in the creative industries and community projects. Clive Stevens, Green councillor for Clifton Down Ward and chair of the Neighbourhood Partnership said of the news: “The creative sector is one of Bristol’s many strengths; we are so pleased to see that the grant we awarded is going to lever so much more money from Heritage Lottery and help disadvantaged young people start what could be a great career opportunity and one day maybe one of them will start up something like their own Aardman.” Sandy Hore-Ruthven, CEO of Creative Youth Network, said: “We’re delighted that we’ve received this support thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Creative Enterprise Hub will revitalise the Old Magistrates’ Courts as a vibrant space for young people and the wider community. It’s great to know that we are a step closer to preserving it for future generations. “We’re hoping to turn the old cells in the basement into an incubator space with studios. The ground floor will be used as a showing area with a cafe and an exhibit space and the top floors will probably be used for offices.” Councillor Asher Craig, Deputy Mayor of Bristol, added: “Building an environment where young people from poor or disadvantaged backgrounds have access to opportunities to develop is critical to tackling inequality. I welcome Creative Youth Network’s imaginative proposal for the future use of the Old Magistrates’ Court. “This project is an example of the type of action needed if we are to connect the benefits of a booming cultural scene to communities, particularly young people, and develop a city where everyone’s experience is one of hope and ambition.” Over the next 18 months, we will be consulting with young people and the local community on the best way we can use the space and transform it into a hub of creativity in the city. How can we help?