The local communities of the Lower Derwent Valley have always intrigued me, especially the small local businesses. I have always admired how they are still doing business and competing with the large supermarkets that have inevitably moved into the towns. This spurred on my interest with this project, how the business owners put so much time and effort into their business and the close-knit community they create, a community which I feel is often overlooked by locals.

I've been working with the Derwent WISE heritage lottery bid, which aims to restore habitats and promote public and community engagement amongst a long list of other things. To find out all the details please visit the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust page about the bid.

As part of this project I've photographed various small local business owner and workers from around the area. I've looked into how the businesses have grown and changed over the years, and how the community’s perception of these businesses has changed.

I’ve found this a rewarding photographic experience, speaking to the local business owners and hearing their experience and views on the current economic climate was very interesting. I hope this is evident within my images, I aspire that you will see these images and think of how the owners have successfully run their business for the past 10 or even 30 years, and how they will hopefully still be such a large part of their community in the future.