People United helps and supports individuals and organisations, large and small. We work with arts organisations, voluntary organisations, community groups, local and national government, and individual artists.
We are an organisation with extensive experience of thinking, reflecting and running innovative projects; and we are keen to help others to develop their own work. Our work is underpinned by our own research into Arts and Kindness, a thread that runs through everything we do. We help others to deliver their own programmes through listening, advising, inspiring, challenging and guiding.
The most popular areas of guidance that we are involved in are:
- Community engagement (including replication of our projects in different contexts)
- Research and evaluation
- Values in practice (within an organisation)
- As a sounding board and critical friend
- Talks and presentations
We also offer specialist courses and programmes as outlined below:
- Away Days (Reflection Days in Canterbury)
- Arts and Kindness mentoring programme and training days
Supporting groups and organisations
Since 2011, we have created special Away Days for individuals and institutions, sharing our ethos of creativity and kindness. Many people working for social change and within the arts sector are really busy; we offer a chance to pause for thought and plan for tomorrow.
Our Away Days take place in Canterbury, Kent (under one hour from London by train). Canterbury is a creative and inspiring city, “The loveliest place on earth”, according to Virginia Woolf. Writers, artists and thinkers have visited for centuries, and found a place of spiritual peace and natural and architectural beauty.
Led by our team together with our speically selected associates, we will look after your wellbeing and make this gathering a bit of a treat. As well as time in modern meeting spaces at Canterbury Innovation Centre, we will show you secret gardens, woodland walks and ancient buildings, and ensure there is enough inviting sustenance to keep you going through the day.
Our Away Days are designed in advance with you but with flexibility built in. Food, equipment, facilitation, accommodation (if needed) and note-taking are all taken care of by People United. A final report will be produced along with an optional follow-up meeting.
We have found that these days are an excellent opportunity for individuals and teams to connect, reflect, develop ideas, and plan practical next steps.
To find out more and check availability and costs, please contact Charlotte (our Head of Operations) on [email protected] or call 01227 811800.
I came away from our away day with People United with renewed energy and passion for the work we do in the Participation Team at Southbank Centre, but what was even better was knowing the whole team shared this energy and felt hugely motivated to take forward the ideas we had developed together. It was so valuable to have time away together to reflect and interrogate our work, whilst celebrating our values and working together. We immediately came back to work and put changes in places. The day allowed and encouraged us to think about real ideas that were achievable yet ambitious. Jessica Santer, Head of Participation, Southbank Centre
People United hosted an away day for our small Happy Museum team over two days in Canterbury. Their careful facilitation, and attention to our wellbeing, created a positive, energising and memorable framing which encouraged us have an extremely open and fruitful discussion about our plans for the future. Hilary Jennings, Director, Happy Museums
Arts and Kindness Mentoring Programme and training days
Supporting creative pioneers in Kent
We have previously run two 6-month personal and professional development programmes supporting individuals living or working in Kent to make a positive difference in their communities through creativity.
Through our work across the community and cultural sectors we have met many individuals making a difference within their organisations, their schools and their neighbourhoods. Many people have expressed a need to:-
- share ideas, hopes and fears
- connect with ‘like-minded’ individuals
- learn from more experienced colleagues
- take time to step back, to reappraise and reflect.
The programme aimed to meet these needs, providing a safe environment for sharing and critical thinking. Participants were nurtured and supported, which in turn helped to build on the creative and social potential of Kent.
I valued being able to take a step back from the day to day working life and appreciate and reflect on all of the things I have achieved in the past 12 months. It was a day that I will always treasure. 2017/18 Participant
We brought together the participants from across Kent for three Away-Days in Canterbury over the course of a 6-month period. Each participant was assigned with an experienced mentor who they met throughout the duration of the programme, and who supported their personal and professional goals. These goals fed into the development of new initiatives devised by participants for the benefit of the wider community, often setting in motion a new approach. Participants became part of People United’s community of practice, benefitting from ongoing support, resources and a network of peers.
The programme was based on People United’s philosophy and research that the arts have a unique potential to grow the conditions that lead to kindness, civic participation and social cohesion.
Arts and Kindness training days
In 2020 we ran our first Arts and Kindness in practice training day which brought a unique group of artists, practitioners and arts professionals together to explore the role of the arts in growing kindness. We hope to run more training days in future.
Please get in touch to find out more
The defining characteristics of our guidance is our emphasis on starting with the positive, taking time to reflect and listen, being open and flexible, not pretending we know all the answers and being enthusiastic for imaginative change. These are typically led by Founder Associate Tom Andrews, Head of Creative Programmes Sarah Fox or one of our other associates (depending on your needs and requirements).
Whilst much of our advice is free, there is a charge for our consultancy work, such as our away days or evaluation. If you would like to find out more, we’d be really happy to talk things through with you informally please contact us.