Easter 2017 – Shark Attacks!

Tan Draig led a workshop to make a life-size shark with our Children’s Arts Holiday Club. Warning:- great white sharks have been sighted since, basking in the shallows of Fleet Arts…

Nansy Ferrett led a workshop to make Gaudi-inspired collages ceramics.

Workshops supported with Belper Town Council  funding

February  2015 – half term workshops
Children aged from 5 – 12 years came to Fleet Arts and  made their own  Model Villages. By the end of the day they had  created a whole landscape full of buildings of all sorts complete with roads and railways – and then took their ow
n landscapes home – complete with volcanoes and beaches; rivers and mountains; caves and houses.

Workshops supported with Belper Town Council  funding















marble run pic







Amber Trust
Fleet Arts worked on three projects for the Trusts sensory garden at their allotments in  Swanwick.  Working with adults who have mental health problems, they made a series of small mosaic slabs. The two following projects were linked, both for a wall within the new garden. Clay low reliefs were an introduction to the use of the material and are now built into a dry stone wall alongside a large, un-glazed waterspout that the participants  went on to help design and make. Elements were put into the design of this that enabled a large number of people to take part in a small way as well as a core group who worked extensively on it.









Crafty Crafts workshops with learning-disabled adults
This ran for well over 2 years, by volunteers at  Fleet Arts base in Belper. We have  been running these creative workshops with leaning disabled adults in a range of arts and crafts in an informal setting. Although it was called Crafty Crafts we have also done some drumming, and painting (including self -portraits) as well as crafts such as pottery, mosaics,  textiles and paper craft.

It was held on a  Wednesday evening , once a month and  provided a welcoming place for adults with learning difficulties to get together and make things.  However numbers began to  drop and some of the volunteers moved on, so we decided to stop in November 2014 –  for a review and to plan what next.









Belper North Mill crafts workshops
These are an example of how Fleet Arts works on small projects with community groups, covering a range of interests or heritage. Three workshops – called Lost, Found & Discovered were linked to new additions to their collections as part of the Derbyshire Enlightenment project and were run at the North Mill Visitor Centre, for families:
Making mini collection boxes with drawers and sections to keep precious objects in – and then went on to fill them with ‘collections’.
Using the two new Strutt family portraits as inspirations, everyone made portraits of themselves others or anything! Afterwards they put them on mounts and decorated these with corners as in the Strutt portraits.
The picture shows some of the people using the individual small-scale machines they had made to ply and double wool.








Welcome mosaic
This project involved making a sign to welcome people to Belper, now sited on the A6 roundabout.  Fleet Arts involved people of all ages in making the mosaic at a range of events – including drop in sessions at community events over the Jubilee holiday celebrations in the River Gardens, and at Fleet Arts as part of Belper Open Houses weekend. We also ran a range of workshops with different age groups including at Fleet Arts and with the Bless project at Belper School, which helped them make their own mosaic.

2013_Welcome_mosaic B_Sch_w-s_22013_Welcome_mosaic B_Sch_w-s_1












Turn it Up
Turn it Up music development with young people continues across many strands of work. It includes working with young bands, supporting them to play at a number of local festivals. These have included:

  • Ashleyhay Festival – a small rural weekend festival
  • Belper Town Council’s ‘Larks in the Park’ at the Belper River Gardens
  • Bandstand Marathon (part of a nation-wide event) run by Derbyshire Dales DC in Matlock
  • Whatstandwell Festival – a locally–run village event
  • Y Not festival – near Buxton – now gaining national recognition.



These provide a great opportunity for young musicians to perform on public stage (sometimes for the first time) and to gain experience in a range of settings.


Emerge is a biennial festival which has been running for a number of years, in Shipley Country Park near Heanor.   Fleet Arts has worked with schools, community groups and young bands to run workshops and organise two stages – a lorry stage and an acoustic stage as well as bringing culturally diverse acts and workshops to the event.  Amy and Lily were one of the acts performing in the acoustic tent in 2013 and the four-strong band Parasight performed here on the lorry. Both also went on to m perform, with great success at other festivals.










Avit Rock Schools
The current Avit programme started in April 2012.  It provides ‘ensemble’ work for instrumental learners and players within a programme that progressively rolled out across the nine districts of the city and county.  Within each area, we have worked with two schools – sometimes linking them together for workshops. Each programme includes performances (some of which have been jointly with the paired school) followed by two bespoke workshops which build on performance feedback, recording or video and self-assessments.












Burning Sounds project
This is the sixth year that Fleet Arts has worked with Derbyshire County Council providing workshops during their summer activities for looked after children. This takes place at Lea Green and is followed by a performance in the autumn for friends and family.  This link is to a video that the young people made in summer 2013.


Projects linked to the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site Partnership.
Since its inception over a decade ago, we have continued to work on a range of projects related to DVMWHSP, including:

A 1911 Classroom
A re-creation event for DVMWHSP’s Discover Days. These were preceded by textile workshops with the Junior class at Cromford School.

The recollections of Belper at war, including memories of evacuees from Westcliffe on Sea in Essex.  The transcriptions are on the Arts Derbyshire website and activity boxes, using local memorabilia and wartime ‘make-do-and-mend’ themes are available for loan from DVMWHSP.


This was a 2-year project, which gathered memories from mill-workers from up and down the lower Derwent Valley. Most of the mills and textiles factories are now shut, but memories were also given by workers from the only surviving factory, John Smedleys, at Lea Bridge.




Fleet Arts has run other projects over the period (including Bindings and Sites & Visions) alongside other arts organisations.  Details, photos and videos of these can be found on


Mills & Chimneys
Mills & Chimneys musicians collective has worked with Fleet Arts and Sinfonia Viva to run joint singing and instrumental workshops in primary and secondary schools. In summer 2012 this culminated in a concert at Derby Assembly Rooms  called “Oh How the Valley Did Change  – Tales from Derbyshire Mills”,  from the name of one of the Mills and Chimney’s songs. The concert was a triumph!
The Mills and Chimneys group went on to reprise an element of this to work with children from Crich Carr and Cromford Schools for a performance at Masson Mills, as part of DVMWHS Discovery Days. Fleet Arts is currently working on plans with Sinfonia Viva for a further stage of the project in 2014.


The De-Volution project, run in partnership with Wash Arts, was a work development project using development of a community programme for the Ilkeston Festival (IF) as a hands-on training tool. Over six months it provided intensive training, support and experience to a small cohort of unemployed people in Ilkeston. All interested in community involvement most of their skills were within visual arts.  Successful events were arranged, and run by them for the Ilkeston Festival. These were well received and five of the seven participants achieved their   personal goals for the project. Two participants also volunteered to gain additional experience at children’s activities in Belper.