A project partner of the
     Sharpe's Pottery Heritage and Arts Trust Ltd
     based at Sharpe's Pottery

People Express - Empowerment of people through community arts

Established in 1990, People Express is a professional community arts organisation, aiming to reach and engage people of all ages, backgrounds and lifestyles who have experienced or are experiencing social exclusion and isolation. With equality of opportunity at the heart of the work, precedence is given to projects that value individual lifestyles and actively counteract prejudice and negative stereotyping.

The organisation is committed to: working in partnership with the voluntary, statutory and business sectors; researching the current needs of the local community; encouraging people to find ways around the barriers that prevent their participation; building trust and developing and facilitating work of a high standard in a range of arts skills.

People Express conducts development work with older people (in particular, work with older housebound people) and users of the mental health services. Projects that cover a wide range of art forms are set up and developed, and an excellent track record has been built up of making digital arts accessible to community groups.

Examples of past project types:

TEA-TOAST-TECHNOLOGY (T3), a unique and innovative computer-based project exploring the theme of love. Initiated by PEOPLE EXPRESS and co-ordinated by digital artist Jeanie Finlay, T3 successfully engaged older people in the creation of digitally-based work with passionate, personal and humourous results.

'Homemaker' made it possible for the first time for People Express to work one to one with participants who considered themselves 'housebound'. Looking at what makes a house a home, it used digital arts to enable people to tell their stories, to create their own visual space. The project culminated in the production of a website, launched during National Older People's Week in October 2000.

Support of the Overseal 50s Group to set up a project to involve everyone in the village in producing their own Parish Map

Support of the Tuesday Club and South Derbyshire Mental Health Association in setting up projects to create a full colour calendar showing all the services available to users of the mental health services and a community garden outside their base in Swadlincote.

In close co-operation with People Express, the South Derbyshire Mental Health Association has gone on to create a 60,000 piece mosaic mural overlooking their Garden of Friendship. A book of poetry and short stories has also been produced.

How the People Express organisation is run

People Express is an unincorporated registered charity managed by a voluntary committee of local people, previous project participants and representatives of the three long term funders: Arts Council, England, East Midlands; Derbyshire County Council and South Derbyshire District Council. There are three permanent staff: a full-time Development Director, a part-time Projects Coordinator and a part-time Finance and Administration Officer who can be contacted if you would like more information. In the past, freelance artists and artsworkers, with a track record of working with priority groups and a proven commitment to equal opportunities, have been employed on a project to project basis as required. People Express now delivers most projects through the artists and project managers working on the new X-tend programme.

The committee of People Express meets every six to eight weeks and has sub-groups covering Personnel, Finance and Policy. Aiming to represent the needs of every section of the community, the committee sets up locally based Project Steering Groups, with a minimum of 50% of their members being participants and/or from the local community.

If you would like more information, People Express may be contacted by email or by telephoning 01283 552962 or by faxing 01283 217037 or by writing to

People Express
Sharpe's Pottery
West Street
South Derbyshire
DE11 9DG

Other sites which may be of interest:

Age Concern Derbyshire, 29a Market Place, Heanor, DE75 7EG
East Midlands Arts