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


My job depends on our belief as a society that we can make things better. Most of the public and charity sector do the same. Billions of pounds are spent every year to support troubled families, disengaged young people, offenders and many others who have just had a bad start in life. And of course it is right that we should try to help. We know that relationships, advice, guidance and opportunities help us all to make our lives better and avoid the pitfalls of life.

But what if sometimes we need to be left to mess it up?  

All of us in the ‘industry’ can tell you that our interventions and help don’t always have an impact. Sometimes you can bend over backwards and see nothing change. In fact sometimes we need to be careful that a young person might tell us what we want to hear – ‘yes, I know I need to deal with my anger’ or ‘I know I need to build my confidence’ but later in the day do something that you and they know does completely the opposite.

We have seen some young people coming to the Station and our other youth centres for years. Sometimes things are going well and sometimes they are going badly, but in the long run little seems to change. So is there a time when you have to say your interventions are doing more damage than good and in fact a young person needs to see the results of their mistakes for themselves?   

This can, of course, be very painful to watch and can result in disastrous consequences  - anything from prison sentences to pregnancy or drug addiction. Morally, we should never stop trying.

But counterintuitively, very disengaged young people often see interventions from professionals only as negative. Despite the intention and quality of the work by a social or youth worker their involvement is seen as an annoyance at best and at worst confirms the self loathing of the recipient. Whilst we might know that returning to school, getting counselling or rebuilding a relationship with your family might be a good thing a young person in the midst of a crisis might see it as criticism or judgment of them. 

Like a drowning person, sometimes diving in to save them only forces them under more quickly and may take the other with them. The advice to anyone trying to rescue that drowning person is to throw them a line. They may be able to take it and pull themselves back or not.

This metaphor extends to a relationship with a vulnerable person. It maybe that simply maintaining contact is all you can do but that it can take years for someone to reach for that lifeline. But by consistently pulling and tugging that young person in the direction you think is best may simply cut the lifeline or relationship they could grab when they are ready.

It is a high risk strategy and one that you should only take when you’ve exhausted all other options. But it is a strategy, I think, that is worth discussing if only to help us help others in the long run.

How can we help?