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B£ x The Turpentine limited edition t-shirts available now!

Just in time for Fashion Week – we’ve got t-shirts!

B£/The Turpentine T-Shirts

The fruits of our collaboration with The Turpentine are here, and in our humble opinion they look great!  The t-shirts are limited edition (a hundred of each design), and this batch has a serial number BP100000001.

To get your hands on one (or more!) of these beauties head to The Turpentine, 433 Coldharbour Lane – a Brixton-based creative hub and our partner in this fashion endeavour. They will also be available online soon, so watch this space! They are available in unisex sizes S,  M and L and are £24 each, with a 10% discount available if paid for in B£. As the design used for the shirts is inspired by  Southwyck House (The Barrier Block), we thought it’s only fair that the Block residents are entitled to a half price discount – £12 (proof of address required). Additionally, 10% of every purchase will go straight into the Brixton Fund, our micro-grants scheme which will support local projects which increase employment opportunities, take action for social justice, or simply produce activities beneficial to the local community.

Designed by Jude de Berker of The Turpentine, the t-shirts feature the artwork used on paper Brixton Pounds, designed by Charlie Waterhouse and Clive Paul Russell of This Ain’t Rock’n’Roll. The Turpentine is a creative hub based in the heart of Brixton, bringing handmade to the high street. They sell beautiful design led art, jewellery and home wares and run art workshops from their store on Coldharbour Lane. Designer Jude de Berker, a London born Central Saint Martins alumni, is one of three co-founder’s. With a broad background from fine jewellery to branding, she enjoys the challenge of multidisciplinary designing. All her work combines influences from her time of teaching architecture and her interest in symbology: “I love combining clean lines with unusual materials and bold colours especially when these can be combined with rich storytelling.”

Here’s what Jude said about the design process for the B£ t-shirts:

“I wanted to take elements from the Brixton Pound to create t-shirt designs that could stand on their own but also work alongside the notes. All the graphical information has been taken directly from the notes, from the background lines and vivid colours to incorporating the serial number of the first ever Brixton Pound on the first 100 t-shirts of each design. I love the storytelling of Charlie Waterhouse’s designs linking the notes to Brixton,  so I incorporated the zigzag lines inspired by Southwyck House that feature on all the notes and the flying birds from the nuclear dawn mural on Carlton Mansions from the £10 note. It’s been a pleasure working with the guys at the Brixton Pound and hopefully we’ve created t-shirt s that people will love to wear.”

The t-shirts, hand screen printed in the UK, are also a statement of our values: organic and ethically made, they are products with a positive social and a minimum environmental footprint.  The organic cotton material is ethically traded and carbon neutral: manufactured solely using sustainable energy generated from wind and solar power, and was provided by EarthPositive, whose apparel is made to demonstrate the highest possible environmental, social, and ethical standards in one of the world’s most environmentally damaging industries.

 

In short: get ‘em while they last!

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New Year’s Resolutions

We’re never going to tell you to diet (all bodies are beautiful). But there are a few things we at B£ would like to do, or do more of, in 2015, and we thought we’d share our thoughts with you.

1) Keep shopping locally.

You all did a stellar job at shopping locally at BriXmas – thank you! Supporting independent businesses and a resilient local economy is a year-round kind of thing though, so it would be great if more of us did more of it. Using B£s is a great way to show your love for a unique, diverse, independent Brixton – and there aren’t many things you *can’t* buy (Aromatherapy, Belly dancing, Comedy club… and many many more all the way till Z). Next time you need something: everyday things (groceries, dry cleaning, DIY supplies), special occasion things (wellness treatments, jewellery, flowers) – check out the B£ Directory and see if you can get it in your local independent business and pay in B£s.

2) Save money – set up a B£ standing order

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Many B£ users have told us before that using B£ actually *saved* them money –  it’s so easy to manage your expenses. Set up a standing order for a sum of your choice – B£20, 30, maybe 50 a month, and try to do your all your shopping with it. It helps to buy what you need and when you need it. Going to big chain stores and supermarkets usually ends with buying lots of things you didn’t want or need in the first place. And what you do spend benefits the community!

 3) Get to know your neighbourhood better

You can explore the B£ Directory – visit businesses you didn’t know were right there, on your doorstep. But Brixton is so much bigger than that, and its rich history and communities can sometimes go unnoticed. Check out Unseen Tours, a multi-award winning social enterprise which offers unique walking tours of London led by homeless, formerly homeless, and vulnerably housed tour guides. Community leader Mahamed, their Brixton guide, will show you many things about your local area that you didn’t know about before. The B£ team went on a tour with him just before Christmas and we learned a lot! He’s an amazing guy, and literally everyone said hello to him in the street.

To book a Brixton tour, email [email protected] or call 07514 266 774. Unseen also do tours of Brick Lane, Camden, Covent Garden, London Bridge, and Shoreditch – tell your friends!

4) Donate to local charities – in B£s

Did you know you can give B£s to Brixton charities? Brixton Pound supports a number of local charities and community groups who take donations via pay-by-text, so you can use your B£e balance to make a quick and easy donation to a cause you support. The charities can then use their B£s locally; for instance  Norwood and Brixton Foodbank regularly buys huge amounts of food with B£s from grocery shops like Faiz Foods. Another great community charity is the Brixton Soup Kitchen, a grassroots project helping homeless people by providing food, support and companionship, and aiming to empower Londoners in need in a warm and friendly environment. Aside from hot meals they offer CV workshops, job guidance, and advice on housing and benefits.

For a full list of supported organisations click here, or go straight to your pay-by-text account to make a donation.

5) Tell your bank to stop funding climate change

Is your bank heavily investing in oil, gas and coal extraction? These are socially and environmentally disastrous industries, and so effectively the big banks are driving irreversible climate change. Not in your name? You want to get involved in Move Your Money UK’s new campaign Divest! The campaign is asking you to take control of your savings and put your bank on notice. Divest! is giving the big banks 3 months – if they don’t clean up their act, Move Your Money can advise you where to move to support Good Money: where your savings will be contributing to a positive change in the world. Brixton Pound supports ethical banking, and so is backing the Divest! campaign. Take action now and put your bank on notice – “either you divest, or I will!”

6) Go vegan!

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The already very high vegan contingent of the B£ Team is getting a boost from one of us who’s doing Veganuary this year – good luck Tom! Going vegan, or at least reducing your meat and dairy consumption, makes a bigger environmental impact than giving up driving! It reduces carbon emissions and pollution, saves water, energy, and wildlife. It’s also super good for you. Have a go! If you’re very used to eating meat and dairy, try it part-time: limit the days on which you eat those products, and try to introduce more vegan recipes to your cooking. The Veganuary website has lots of resources for beginner vegans.

7) Fly less

Flying massively contributes to climate change, and instead of flying less, we are flying more and more – according to Wikipedia about 8.3 million people fly daily, which is twice as much as in 1999. When you’re planning your holiday or business travel this year, consider overland options!

 

Tell us what *you* are doing for a more sustainable 2015!

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2015: The Year of the Bonus!

YearofBonusblogpic

Well, good January to you all. After a few sodden cycles to Brixton Pound Towers last week that is said through gritted teeth – but no less heartfelt for it!

So, 2015: what’s it all going to be about?

There’s a couple of sporting world cups (cricket and rugby if you’re asking), a UK general election, it’s the International Year of Light (and Light-Based Technologies) and the International Year of Soils (if you’re in the business of illuminating compost it’s going to be a scorcher) – but from where we’re sitting there’s only one ‘year of’ you need to worry about/anticipate wildly: The Year of the Bonus!

What and why then? We haven’t chosen this word lightly, we really are planning to pack the year with Bonuses for Brixton. Let me explain why.

Bonus Fund Cycle diagam

To kick off, let’s introduce the Brixton Bonus itself: a local, monthly, prize draw – with a top prize of   B£1000 up for grabs (alongside some more for the runners up). The chance to win is yours for a paltry £1 (or B£1), and because it’s a local gig you’re several thousands of times more likely to win than on, say, the National Lottery.

So far it looks like the Bonus is a winner-takes-all situation. Not so, indeed far from it.

The whole idea is that the Brixton Bonus is, genuinely, a bonus for Brixton. After the winner has been awarded their handsome winnings (which in turn will, of course, become a bonus for the Brixton businesses in which they’re spent…), the remaining funds will be split between the Brixton Fund – a local micro-grants scheme – and the Brixton Pound, enabling us to continue our work supporting Brixton’s businesses and local economy.

The Brixton Fund will financially support projects which meet its priorities for increasing local employment opportunities, taking action for social justice, or simply activities beneficial to the local community. We’re not being any less vague than this right now for a reason: we want the community to decide what’s most important. Watch this space.

So, you see: win or lose it’s a Bonus all round.

If you’d like to play, find out more about the Brixton Bonus & Fund, ask us a question or simply be kept in the loop in advance of the launch you can quickly register your interest here.

brixtonbonus

But the bonuses keep on flowing, we’ve also got cooking for 2015:

  • Contactless payment: ever pushing the boundaries of the local currency world, contactless payment is on its way, making it embarrassingly easy to spend those B£s mid-21st-century-style
  • Android B£ app: following hot on the heels of our iPhone App launched last summer, the Android version will be launching this year – so you’ll be able to pay in a flash, top-up on the go and search out Brixton business gems from your pocket without selling out to Apple (just Google instead…)
  • A new B£5 note: to celebrate 5 years of the Brixton Pound, 2nd edition note designers-extraordinaire This Ain’t Rock ’n’ Roll will be producing a special new B£5 note – we can’t tell you anything more now, but trust us, it’s gonna be good!
  • A B£ cashpoint: sorely missing, I think we can all agree, from Brixton’s town centre for too long now – a cashpoint dedicated to spitting out local money into your eager palms could be on its way. We’ll be waiting to hear if a funding bid has been successful sometime in February. Fingers and toes crossed please…

Not bad eh? We hope we’ve done enough to convince you that if you’re into Brixton and its trusty currency, this year could be one to remember.

Cheers to that.

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