Local charity Creative Youth Network welcomed West of England Mayor Dan Norris to the site of the derelict Magistrates Courts in central Bristol. The Courts will be developed into a creative enterprise hub for the region, offering diverse and disadvantaged young people the chance to gain the skills, contacts and experience they need to get into the creative industries.
Talking to young people about their vision for the building, Dan Norris heard of aspirations for a creative hub where young people from all backgrounds can fully explore their creative potential and find meaningful work.
Metro Mayor Dan Norris said: “It’s a pleasure to meet such enthusiastic young people with incredible energy who I know are set to make a real impact in the creative industries. I know the work that Creative Youth Network does really gets results for young people by enabling them to learn new skills and make new connections. That in turn means we will have a more diverse future workforce helping cement our region’s place as a centre of creativity and innovation. I’m pleased to hear more about the plans to reimagine and redevelop the Old Magistrate’s Courts so that even more young people will be able to benefit.”
Chris (21), a young illustrator and film maker who is on The Courts steering group, said: “It’s been difficult for me to work out on my own how to set myself up as a freelancer. I don’t have the connections that other young people from more affluent backgrounds have, so having a space to network with other young creatives and with creative businesses would be amazing.
I’m self-taught, I’ve learnt how to do things on my own. When I first started, I didn’t have the proper equipment and didn’t know where to go for advice or help. The Courts would give young people like me a much better starting point to go to for advice and guidance.
To make sure that creative industries are truly inclusive, young people like me need opportunities to learn, develop our skills and connect – The Courts would give us that space, which we can make our own.”
Sandy Hore-Ruthven, CEO of Creative Youth Network, said: “We are delighted to welcome Dan to meet young people and to hear about their first-hand experiences and aspirations for The Courts and we are pleased to see his focus on skills development in the region.
“The creative industries have long been inaccessible to many young people despite their creativity and energy. In addition, the impact of the pandemic has been significant on young people’s confidence, mental health and job opportunities.
“The redevelopment of The Courts will give young people the chance to contribute to our thriving creative industries and give a permanent home to our work to support them.
“We have made significant progress with the project, but we still need to raise just under £1 million to make it happen. We’d be grateful to hear from anyone able to help us on this final leg of the journey.”
Creative Youth Network, the charity leading on The Courts redevelopment, has a proven track record of transforming thousands of lives, supporting over 1000 vulnerable young people with complex barriers into work and education in 2020.
The charity uses creativity to unlock young people’s potential through building trusting relationships in safe and inclusive spaces and worked with over 6400 young people from the region last year.