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 Why raising awareness about mental health is not enough For young people to reach their potential, we need to ensure services are in place to promote physical and mental wellbeing, and from an early age. Raising awareness and removing stigma around mental health is great, but if the services are not then in place to support those struggling, there’s a limit to what can be achieved. Today in Youth Work Week, we are talking about Experiencing Positive Health and Wellbeing. On 10th October, we celebrated World Mental Health Day and as we turned our attention to social media, we found that more and more people were talking about how mental health services have failed them, time and time again. As many campaigns have focused on raising awareness and eliminating the stigma around mental health during recent times, we also see young people being more confident to speak about mental health. However, the services they require in times of need are still not there. The CAMHS Threshold vs Early Intervention Under the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme, we have a team of wellbeing practitioners who work with young people ages 11-19, supporting them around their mental health. These young people often access our service as they do not meet the high threshold for NHS children’s mental health services (CAMHS) and without our service would often be left with no help at all. However, our service is designed to offer intervention around mild to moderate mental health needs, and not long-term or complex issues which we are often met with. This is reflected in the timescale of our work, required by our funding, which only covers roughly 8-10 therapy sessions. Therefore, for many young people, in order to have a chance of proper recovery, far more intervention is needed. Yet in Bristol, due to lack of funding and services, this simply isn’t available. Despite our best efforts, many young people fall through the net. For primary school children, the situation is even worse. The services offered by us and partners such as Off The Record start at 11 years old, so the offer is even more limited. Rather than receiving suitable early intervention as soon as a problem begins to arise, children end up becoming more and more mentally unwell and only get support when they are at secondary school age and already their struggles have grown significantly. This then requires far more support to recover than they would have needed earlier in their lives, when a lighter touch service may have been enough. The future of mental health services for young people Providing for young people has recently gone up the policy and news agenda, with cross-party commitment to investment. We welcome these much needed announcements, as youth services have been cut across the UK by 70% since 2010, £880m cut from services for young people. We reach through our youth centres in Bristol and South Gloucestershire some of the most vulnerable young people living here. We build meaningful, trusting relationships which enable us to open up conversations which are much harder to have in school or elsewhere. That's why we're keen to do as much as we can to offer therapeutic support to the young people who need it the most. In the future, we are calling for each youth centre to have dedicated wellbeing practitioners equipped to deliver early intervention around mental health. We’re also calling for more investment in mental health services for the under 11s so we can prevent difficulties before they really take a hold. This will be a step in the right direction. Do you work with young people who need mental health support? What other approaches have you found effective in delivering successful early intervention? Let us know in the comments below. Join us and support young people to get the mental health support they need. Donate now: Please select a donation amount: * £5 Can keep the kettle warm all evening for young people £10 Can cover a tin of paint we use to cover the wear and tear of the building £20 Can pay for a room where a youth worker supports a young person Other Donate How can we help?