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Creative Works

Fund manager - Big Issue Invest

Creative Works helps marginalised young people access the creative industries.

  • 10000 Number of young people from diverse communities across North and East London supported since 1999
  • 500 Number of young people helped to find employment
  • 88% Percentage of Big Creative Education apprentices now working in the creative industries


The creative industries are worth over £100 billion to the UK economy and are growing faster than any other sector. However, a lack of diversity in the creative industries has been a challenge for a long time. The sector is dominated by freelancers and small enterprises and it’s not uncommon for jobs to go unadvertised. Some recruiters like to see degree-educated candidates and can exclude people with more vocational education.


Creative Works is a purpose-built co-working space for entrepreneurs in the creative industries which helps marginalised young people access the sector. Young students from some of North and East London’s most diverse areas receive training, mentoring, practical support and apprenticeships from the companies using the Creative Works centre. The centre was masterminded by Big Creative Education which used £3.6 million investment to convert a former factory into co-working space offering 160 desks and with capacity for more than 100 creative companies. Big Issue Invest made an investment of £600,000 in the centre from their Social Enterprise Investment Fund II, which Big Society Capital invested £15 million in.


Big Creative Education has worked with over 10,000 young people from diverse communities across North and East London since they were established in 1999. They have also helped more than 500 young people from diverse backgrounds to find employment. Eighty-eight per cent of their apprentices work in the creative industries, while 50% of their academy graduates are the first generation in their families to attend university.