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. Youth Participation: What’s the point? “Participation” and “Have your say” are often phrases that are used across youth services, but young people often wonder ‘what is the point?’ and what does ‘participation’ even mean? Participation means meaningfully ensuring services are relevant for young people today, by including them in service design and delivery. To an organisation, it could be simply consulting with young people about a small decision, completing surveys and even right up to volunteers, youth committee groups and young trustees, resulting in quality youth services that have young people at the heart. However, some could argue that the young people who engage in participation reap most of the benefits, which to name a few can include: Increased confidence and self esteem Sense of connectedness, and feeling of being valued, which can contribute to positive mental health Gaining skills for CV (including references for future employment) Meeting new people and making friends – reducing loneliness and isolation Access to training and support Learning about how youth services work and progressing into a career in youth work The South Gloucestershire Youth Partnership (SGYP), includes youth organisations across South Glos: Creative Youth Network, Southern Brooks, Diversity Trust, Krunch South West and Wickwar Youth Centre who have come together through a passion and determination for delivering quality youth services for young people in South Gloucestershire. Even though I like to think of myself as still being young and across the partnership we have over 30 years’ experience of youth work, we need young people to help us ensure we are providing a quality youth service that is relevant for young people today. To make sure we do this in a meaningful way, we have created a new Youth Ambassador volunteer role, who I cannot wait to start working with. Interested in getting involved? I’d love to hear from you – 07747271919 / [email protected] – Facebook – Hannah Cyn Do you work in a youth organisation? How do you make sure that youth participation is meaningful?