Development funding brings £6.5m young people’s creative enterprise hub step closer

Bristol’s Creative Youth Network, which supports young people in reaching their potential through creative expression, has come one step closer to creating a hub for Creative Enterprise.

The organisation has received £300,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to develop the designs and vision with young people over the next 18 months. 

If successful, it will receive £4.5m towards the £6.5m cost of refurbishing the derelict Old Magistrates Courts in Broadmead.

The primary grant was matched by £100,000 from Bristol City Council Neighbourhood Partnership.

The project aims to transform the building into a youth enterprise hub to support young people into the creative industries. The courts will provide space for enterprise workshops, mentoring and support.

Neighbourhood Partnership chair Cllr Clive Stevens said: “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.”

Creative Youth Network builds supportive relationships with young people from all backgrounds across the South West to help them reach their own potential and live fulfilling lives.

It operates safe and creative environments across Bristol and South Gloucester providing social and emotional support, opportunities for creative expression, and access to alternative education, training and employment.

CEO Sandy Hore-Ruthven added: “We’re delighted that we’ve received this support thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund. The youth enterprise centre 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.”

Deputy Mayor of Bristol Cllr Asher Craig said building an environment where young people from poor or disadvantaged backgrounds have access to opportunities to develop was critical to tackling inequality.

“I welcome Creative Youth Network’s imaginative proposal for the future use of the Old Magistrates Court,” she said.

“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.”

The building will support the Creative Enterprise Hub from commercially-let office space and renovated court space which will be available for hire. 

Consultations with young people and the local community will take place over the coming months to ensure the building meets the needs of the young community. 

The Old Magistrates Courts were built in 1879 by Josiah Thomas and later extended to operate as a criminal court. The original Victorian cells, pictured above, are still in place, as well as four court rooms with ornate ceilings.

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